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The Royal College of Ophthalmologists receives new funding to support eye health workforce development

1 February 2018

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has received funding to develop the Ophthalmology Common Clinical Competency Framework (OCCCF) to become a reality, enabling further development of an ophthalmology-led multidisciplinary workforce to meet the increasing demands on the hospital eye service.

The RCOphth will lead on this collaborative project with the Royal College of Nursing, the College of Optometrists, British and Irish Orthoptic Society, the Association of Health Professions in Ophthalmology.

The multidisciplinary team of qualified optometrists, orthoptists, ophthalmic nurses and ophthalmic clinical scientists have taken on expanded roles, which allows ophthalmologists to deal with the more complex clinical decision-making and cases. The OCCCF enables a structured approach to competencies for these expanded roles, within four major clinical areas, that is transparent, transferable and based on recognised training.

Beverley Harden, Associate Director Education and Quality Health Education England (HEE) said, ‘We were impressed with the ophthalmic competency framework’s vision which very much aligns to the aims of our Medical Education Reform programme.  It also meets and contributes to the HEE blue triangle vision for the development of the wider workforce, which is an organisational priority and mandate commitment. This is a high priority programme and the Eye Health ACP pilot has been highlighted as a case study in the HEE Workforce Strategy recently commissioned by the Secretary of State.’

Mike Burdon, RCOphth President and joint chair of the project steering group with Beverley Harden commented, ‘This is a great opportunity for the RCOphth to take forward the hard work of former president Carrie MacEwen in developing the OCCCF. Whilst the hospital eye service and its workforce continues to be overwhelmed, we are constantly looking for solutions.  The welcomed HEE funding will ensure that we can now develop a curriculum that will have many benefits for both the HCP ophthalmic workforce and, importantly, for patients.’

Working with HEE, the RCOphth will produce curriculum guidance documents, a series of workplace based assessments and will pilot an Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) style process through HEE schools.


Health Education England Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future, A draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027  

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Ophthalmology Common Clinical Competency Framework