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11 August 2023

FODO member update - 11 August

This week:

Warning about a tsunami of blindness across Wales

The Welsh Government has published the latest ophthalmology waiting time data, showing that 51% of patients are still not seen in their target time.

Last week, Gwyn Williams, president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in Wales, told the BBC that ophthalmology struggled to meet needs before Covid. However, he said it had "no hope without innovative ideas and substantial investment in services infrastructure and new ways of working". Mr Williams added that Wales faced the risk of a "tsunami of blindness across the whole country unless we are able to reorganise".

Read the full FODO Wales update

National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) audit for cataract surgery

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) has published its sixth NOD audit for cataract surgery.

The report, which includes data on over 70% of all cataract surgery performed, shows patients continue to benefit from access to high-quality care and that £2.8 million was saved each year by avoiding Posterior Capsule Rupture (PCR) complications. It also shows the average age of patients was 76 years for a cataract operation on the first eye.

While the NOD data shows cataract surgery remains a safe procedure, Mike Burdon, chair - RCOphth NOD Audit Steering Group, said: "Many clinicians quote a risk of 1:1000 of loss of vision as a result of cataract surgery. The NOD data shows that risk of catastrophic visual loss is actually 1:500." 

Aston's first IP qualification to meet new GOC requirements

Aston University's graduate Independent Prescribing (IP) for Optometrists qualification is the first to be delivered under the GOC's new education and training requirements (ETR). Aston will provide the updated qualification from October 2023. Read more

National Eye Health Strategy Bill fails to get second reading

In November 2022, Marsha De Cordova MP put forward a motion calling for a Bill which would require the government to publish a national eye health strategy for England. De Cordova's office has now confirmed to Optometry Today the Bill will not receive its second reading. Read more

3 CPD points - NHS BSA early re-test codes

The NHS BSA has published six articles for GOC registrants in England worth 3 CPD points (0.5 points each). The articles explain how to use early re-test codes on GOS forms. Complete the CPD

Other sector news

  • Aston University supports classification for the International Blind Sports Federation World Games. Read more.
  • RCOphth will launch a one-year pilot of physician associates (PAs) in ophthalmology starting in November 2023. Read more.
  • World Health Organization launches sensory functions toolkit. Read more.
  • Optician has announced its inaugural conference on sustainability. The event will occur from 5-6 November 2023 at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. Learn more.
  • College of Optometrists seeks an ophthalmologist as IP external examiner. Read and apply by 30 August.

Tech updates

AI in optometry. Ophthalmologist and NIHR doctoral fellow Jeff Hogg will deliver a webinar on artificial intelligence in optometry - a practical exploration of near-term realities. The event happens on 7 September 7.30-8.45pm. Learn more.

New AI healthcare research funding. Technology secretary Michelle Donelan has announced the AI for health competition. It includes £13 million in funding for projects that will 'revolutionise AI healthcare research in the UK'. 

Policy news

RCOphth has responded to the government's elective recovery taskforce plan to increase the use of independent sector provider capacity in England. Read the initial response. Read the detailed response.

NHS England has published enforcement guidance.
The guidance applies to all ICBs and providers of NHS healthcare services in England subject to the provider licence. This means the guidance will apply to ophthalmology services but not to primary eye care services.

Use of CE mark
. Last week, we reported that the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) will extend the use of CE marking for businesses indefinitely. The extension applies to 18 regulations DBT owns. The MHRA has confirmed its position by setting out the timeline for CE-marked medical devices to be placed on the Great Britain market:

  • General medical devices compliant with the EU medical devices directive (EU MDD) or EU active implantable medical devices directive (EU AIMDD) with a valid declaration and CE marking can be placed up until the sooner of the expiry of the certificate or 30 June 2028
  • General medical devices, including custom-made devices, compliant with the EU medical devices regulation (EU MDR) and IVDs compliant with the EU in vitro diagnostic medical devices regulation (EU IVDR) can be placed up until 30 June 2030
  • In vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDs) compliant with the EU in vitro diagnostic medical devices directive (EU IVDD) can be placed up until the sooner of the expiry of the certificate or 30 June 2030.

Potential pause on new five-year GP contract. Pulse reports that NHS England will not negotiate with the BMA on a new five-year GP contract due to a lack of a funding commitment. Read more


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