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External Service Reviews

The College’s Royal Charter states that one of the main functions of the College is the maintenance of “proper professional standards in the practice of ophthalmology for the benefit of the general public.”

An important part of the Committee’s work is to provide advice to providers or commissioners of ophthalmology services where something has gone wrong with a clinical service, where concerns have been raised about the clinical care provided, or where an eye department is in dispute with its host trust. Although the College has no statutory right to inspect or accredit clinical services, it aims to provide rapid, high quality specialist advice when requested to do so.

The role of the College relates to problems that require specific expertise of College Fellows/Members in assessing the quality of care provided by an ophthalmology service/department.

The College aims to provide an independent review of the structure, organisation and departmental practices to ensure quality care is provided in the ophthalmology department/service. The College works within an ethos of openness in the conduct of its work. However, the nature of some reviews means that the College and any review team must ensure that data and information specific to the review is treated as strictly confidential by all parties involved in order to promote participation by all in an open, equal and fair way.

Immediate triggers for service review requests have included complaints, adverse events, staffing problems, difficult relations between clinicians or between clinicians and managers and problems meeting waiting time targets. However, a very common finding has been that, underlying the stated reason for the request, there is a chronic mismatch between capacity and demand within the service. There may be many reasons for an ophthalmology service struggling to meet the demands placed upon it. However, the themes identified in this Our ophthalmology service is failing please help have been relevant to most invited reviews undertaken by the College over the last decade and should be considered by organisations whose ophthalmology service appears to be in difficulty.

Contact: Beth Barnes, Head of Professional Support, email: beth.barnes@rcophth.ac.uk


Process Guide External Service Reviews

External service review request form

Our ophthalmology service is failing please help

External Review of Ophthalmology Services – Handbook for Assessors