The Consulting Room: 100% quality

Nigel Kirkpatrick discusses clinical quality in ophthalmology services and how optimum patient care can be achieved

We are at a fascinating crossroads for our closely related professions of ophthalmology and optometry. That was my observation from 100% Optical in February, when I joined my Newmedica colleagues at ExCel to meet optometrists in our training room and stand, and present on the main stage.

At this year’s show there was an influx of ophthalmologists due to the introduction of 100% Ophthalmology. The networking was brisk across the stands with welcome espresso stops to keep spirits up across the busy three days of the show. Optometrists are increasingly being encouraged to become primary care clinicians for patients’ eyes.

This is laudable and there is plenty of room for input from optometry colleagues here. Undoubtedly this is worthwhile for patients, however there is a postcode lottery in terms of how services are created, trained for, commissioned and remunerated. From the ophthalmologists’ standpoint it is beginning to feel a bit like the wild west. The arrival of multiple providers has created a vibrant market to attract patients into services, notably for cataract surgery.

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