In 1960, John Haynes OBE founded a publishing company which has published a very popular series of practical workshop manuals covering many models of car and motorcycle. Each manual contains detailed instructions accompanied by diagrams and photographs of a strip-down and rebuild of the vehicle in question and is aimed both at DIY-enthusiast owners and professional mechanics. Possession of a Haynes Manual does not in itself confer the expertise necessary to undertake the tasks it describes and many owners buy them mainly to improve their understanding of their vehicle.
Similarly, this site attempts to meet the needs both of those who simply wish to improve their understanding of revalidation and those who, for one reason or another, need to “lift the bonnet” on revalidation as it applies to ophthalmologists. This is particularly likely to be relevant to those who conduct appraisals of ophthalmologists and Responsible Officers, but it contains information which is also likely to be useful to ophthalmologists preparing for appraisal.
The site does not confer the skills necessary to conduct an appraisal of an ophthalmologist, but (recognising that appraisers may not always practise in the same specialty or sub-specialty as those they appraise) aims to help the appraiser understand the significance of the supporting information that an ophthalmologist is likely to bring to appraisal, and therefore assist in setting or reviewing appropriately challenging, but fair objectives for a Professional Development Plan (PDP).
Ophthalmology covers a wide range of clinical practice and many fields of ophthalmology are evolving rapidly in response to advances in knowledge and technology. These developments shape the training of ophthalmologists, the scope of practice of trained ophthalmologists, the constitution of clinical teams and the definition of what is regarded as “current best practice”.
The information in this site is necessarily technical in places but is also more detailed in some fields of practice than others because clinical outcomes are much easier to define and measure in some fields than others.
It is also important to remember – and it is at this point the parallel with the Haynes Manual ends – that ophthalmologists do not roll off a production line as clones of a template. Variable degrees of sub-specialisation take place within and beyond the specialty training curriculum. Clinical practice evolves with time and is shaped by the geographical and organisational environment in which the ophthalmologist works.
The GMC’s model for revalidation puts considerable emphasis on appraisal as a mechanism by which the public can be assured that doctors remain up to date and fit to practise. Appraisal, if conducted well, can give that assurance, but in order to do so, the appraiser must be sufficiently well-informed to assist the doctor in setting and reviewing appropriate PDP objectives which cover the range of the doctor’s professional practice.