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Ophthalmology Local Training Programme

In recognition of the ongoing challenges facing the ophthalmology workforce, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has developed an Ophthalmology Local Training Programme.

This is to encourage trusts and hospital eye units to develop non-numbered training posts for trust-appointed specialty ophthalmologist doctors, (staff grade, associate specialist and specialty doctors (SAS) to work and train in a structured and formally supported way to achieve CESR.

The local training programme will not only attract applicants to difficult-to-fill SAS posts but also provide a more well-trained candidates who can apply for CESR in the expectation that they are likely to be successful, thereby reducing the burden on CESR assessors and expanding the consultant workforce. For those who are not successful, this will provide a more comprehensively trained SAS doctor cohort and place these doctors in an excellent position to apply for the new Associate Specialist positions which are expected to reopen in the future.

Ophthalmology faces ongoing severe capacity issues in ophthalmic services as shown by the RCOphth 2018 Census, with a 170 unfilled consultant posts with a further 230 posts predicted needed in the next 2 years and including 85% of units have difficulty filling SAS posts.

Despite progress in developing innovative models of care through the use of the non-medical workforce in primary, community and secondary care settings and increasing virtual and other technological solutions, the College believes that an expansion of medical posts including at consultant level will be crucial to a safe, sustainable ophthalmic service in the longer term. Despite an over-subscription to current ophthalmology training posts and an ability to provide more training, Health Education England is unable to support more training places due to a lack of funding and is supportive of new routes to supply the workforce with consultants.

Read the full documents which provide more information.

Introduction to Ophthalmology Local Training OLT Programme June 2020
Guidance Document for Ophthalmology Local Training Programme June 2020
Ophthalmology Local Training Standards June 2020
Regional OLT Lead JD PS June 2020
Unit OLT Lead JD PS June 2020

View the webinar recording of the Introduction to the Ophthalmology Training Programme.