As the Prime Minister faced high profile Cabinet walkouts this week, a representative for eye care enjoyed a warm welcome to Downing Street

Dr Barbara Ryan, director of postgraduate programmes at Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, received a last-minute invitation to a reception at 10 Downing Street to celebrate 70 years of the NHS.

The intimate celebration was held by the PM Theresa May on the eve of the NHS’s milestone birthday, on July 5, with a select few NHS staff in attendance.

May described the celebration as a ‘very special birthday of a very special institution; in a world that has changed almost beyond recognition’.

Dr Ryan, who has worked in hospital and community optometry, said: ‘Originally I thought the invitation was a scam, so I reported it to Downing Street. They immediately replied and said that it was real.

‘It was a real privilege to be invited to celebrate the NHS because it is an institution I truly believe in. It was great to meet fellow health care professionals and support staff. Best of all was the fact that Theresa May, in her speech, mentioned optometrists alongside doctors and dentists.’