Praise for the resilience shown by Ophthalmologists in training during the pandemic
10 September 2021
As 240 new Fellows were welcomed to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) today, President Bernie Chang paid tribute to their resilience in pursuing their training whilst also stepping up to care for patients and support NHS colleagues during the pandemic.
At the annual RCOphth Admissions Ceremony today, diplomas were presented to doctors who have successfully passed the prestigious FRCOphth exam. 130 attended the ceremony in person, with 240 in total qualifying. All will now go on to apply for a consultant post.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is proud of your accomplishments
Professor Bernie Chang, President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists gave the opening address to the new generation of Ophthalmologists, saying:
“We have lived through over a year and a half of the worst pandemic in our lifetime. As medical professionals we have put our health at risk looking after patients, our daily routines severely disrupted.
We are all aware of the severe disruption of the pandemic on ophthalmologists in training. I would like to pay tribute to the way you have stepped up to care for patients, support the service and help other doctors and allied health professionals across the NHS. It has been a difficult and sometimes fearful time. Covid-19 has and continues to impact on service delivery, on training opportunities and of course exams. A significant number of you probably had to endure the stress of exams being cancelled, and you will also likely have had to adjust to the new virtual exams of this College.
We fully recognise the magnitude of what you have achieved, the time and effort you have put in to honing your knowledge and clinical skills. As you enjoy this day of celebration, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is proud of your accomplishment and looks forward to working with you to maintain the excellent standards in our speciality and help shape the future of ophthalmology.”
The new generation of ophthalmologists are much needed
Ophthalmology has the highest outpatient workload in the NHS. Eye care services face a tremendous capacity challenge and continued backlogs exacerbated by the pandemic. Consequently, high risk patients are potentially at significant risk of avoidable sight loss. An expansion of training places, and long-term investment in the ophthalmology workforce is urgently needed to ensure that the rapidly growing patient demand is met in the coming years. Patient need is growing all the time to treat glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.
The RCOphth has also responded this week to Health Education England’s workforce call for evidence (RCOphth call for action on workforce). This details how demand for ophthalmology services is set to significantly increase in the next 15 years and calls for urgent action to ensure workforce supply is there to meet patient need.