RCOphth Council short notes
Friday 4 September 2020 – Short notes
National Ophthalmology Transformation Plan (NOTP)
Work is still on going with this project and the Leads have been appointed, Mel Hingorani and Guy Mole are the clinical leads for Ophthalmology. We anticipate that NHS England will develop a communications plan in due course to update the sector.
AQPs and Training
In order to restore opportunities for training and build on the work by NHSEI, the College proposes that surgical training could be routinely delivered by independent providers as well as within NHS units.
Heads of School currently review all the options available to them to deliver suitable surgical training in their regions. The College considers that, with the right governance arrangements, independent providers can play an important role in providing quality training. Some benefits of this would be that the independent units become a recognised site for training, with the support of the local dean. As a specialist cataract unit, the provider would have the opportunity to become a centre of excellence in surgical training. It is also possible that trainees will return to work in that centre when they complete their training, and in turn provide training for future ophthalmologists. A risk would be that without clearly setting out the College’s expectations and providing guidance, there is a risk that training in ISTCs may be set up without appropriate governance arrangements, and training will not be of the standards required, adversely affecting the future workforce and patients.
Concern was raised that if cataract surgery is given away to the AQPs away from the Trusts then there may be much less money available to treat the more complex patients when they do not probably get the right amount of funding in the first instance anyway.
It has been encouraging following COVID that the appetite for training from AQPs has been positive and that trainees and Council would very much support this initiative.
There was an appetite to increase the amount of funds gained from sponsorship but it was agreed that this needs to be carefully managed and to make sure there are no conflicts of interest from the companies. The funding needs to be in line with the Charter and a plurality of sponsors was one way of reducing risk to the College
Following an election, the new Regional Representative for Wales is David Laws. Within his role he will also be the Advisor to the Welsh Government. This role will be supported by a Subcommittee called The Royal College of Ophthalmologists in Wales. This will allow the new representative to liaise with the Welsh Government and to also engage with members in individual health boards to help develop their services. This was supported by the vast majority of members in Wales.
Super hubs – Getting It right First Time (GIRFT)
The RCOphth Link Officer will approach the GIRFT team to gather further information of the suggestion of super hubs for cataract surgery across London.
Preparations for the October 2020 FRCOphth Part 1 proctored exam (i.e. to be taken at home or at a workplace and invigilated remotely) and the November 2020 FRCOphth Part2 Oral exam to be held in Macclesfield were progressing as expected.
The College expects most committees to hold at least half committees remotely. Experience to date of remote meetings has been positive but there will still be a place for physical meetings as circumstances allow.
Virtual RCOphth Conference
The College has organised a Covid-19 and Ophthalmology Conference which will take place on 20 October 2020 and members are urged to book here