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Ophthalmology Common Clinical Competency Framework

The Ophthalmology Common Clinical Competency Framework provides standards and guidance for the knowledge and skills required for non-medical eye healthcare professionals to deliver patient care. The traditional eye health care team has changed and continues to develop to meet the demands on the hospital eye service due to an increase in successful, but recurrent, treatments and the increase in chronic disease management due to the aging population in the UK.

Aspects of clinical work that were previously the domain of the medically qualified ophthalmologist are now being delivered by a broader multidisciplinary team. This new team of qualified optometrists, orthoptists, ophthalmic nurses and ophthalmic clinical scientists have taken on expanded roles, which release ophthalmologists to make more complex clinical decisions and to deal with the more complex cases.  But this has been at the expense of a systematic approach to education and training to ensure standardised and recognised competences across all ophthalmic secondary care locations in the UK.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the College of Optometrists (CoO), British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS), the Association of Health Professions in Ophthalmology (AHPO) worked together with other contributors to develop The Common Clinical Competency Framework (‘Framework’).

The Framework benefits the non-medical HCP workforce within a hospital setting so they can continue to take on expanded roles to help manage demand and to continue to provide safe and efficient care for patients with competencies that are transparent, transferable and based on recognised training. The Framework will also improve opportunities to recruit more non-medical healthcare professionals to take on expanded roles.

All ophthalmic education and training providers are encouraged to review the Framework against their existing education and training programmes and to use in the development of new programmes.

The Framework covers four clinical areas; acute and emergency eye care, cataract assessment, glaucoma and medical retina and is for use in all the four home nations of the UK.

Download the guides

Setting Out Guidance and Benefits Common Clinical Competency Framework Nov2016
Acute & Emergency Care Common Clinical Competency Framework Nov2016
Cataract Common Clinical Competency Framework Nov2016
Glaucoma Common Clinical Competency Framework Nov2016
Medical Retina Common Clinical Competency Framework Nov2016


What Next?

The sister bodies are compiling the competences outlined in the 2016 ‘Common Clinical Competency Framework for Non-medical Ophthalmic Healthcare Professionals in Secondary Care’ documents to form a spiralled learning curriculum setting out competencies by level for each sub-specialty and area of work (both clinical and non-clinical). The curriculum is due to be approved by all main OCCCF stakeholders and published in Autumn 2018.

The curriculum will subsequently be used to develop e-learning modules in collaboration with Health Education England’s e-learning for Healthcare platform covering competencies at Levels 1 & 2. Level 3 competencies will be incorporated at a later date.