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The Way Forward

The RCOphth represents the voice of ophthalmology. It recently launched its RCOphth Our Strategic Plan 2015 – 19 which provides a comprehensive framework for the College to help shape eye care services of the future and to raise eye care higher on the health agenda. In its Strategic Aim 2, the RCOphth seeks to influence and uphold standards in eye health through proactive leadership and expertise in the field of ophthalmology for the benefit of patients. This matters because ophthalmologists as the only medically qualified eye specialists must provide leadership for the entire sector on diagnosis, treatment and management of eye disease. This leadership will be vital in ensuring that best use is made of resources to deliver effective and timely patient treatment.

The College has contracted the Leeds Ophthalmic Public Health Team, with Mr John Buchan as the Principal Investigator, to produce an initial report identifying best practice models for the delivery of ophthalmic services in the UK and offer suggestions on the range and composition of ophthalmic care teams.

The project includes:

  • NHS Funded ophthalmic care
  • The 4 Countries of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Greatest focus on the most common eye conditions (cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy)

The project excludes

  • Care which is not free at the point of delivery i.e. privately funded ophthalmic care
  • A detailed analysis of Specialised Commissioning
  • The detailed mapping of referral pathways


October to December 2015: Literature Review and Data Collection including semi-structured interviews with clinical service leads, followed by an interim report.

January to May 2016: Feedback on the Draft Interim Report from the project board, reference group and LOPHT team. Further literature review and data collection undertaken as necessary aiming for draft Final Report submitted to the project board by June 2016.

May 2016: Report Initial discussions at Congress.

July to December 2016: Dissemination and discussion of project findings via meetings e.g. Oxford Congress, RCOphth Clinical Leads Forum.

January 2017: Report publication

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