With an ageing population and rising expectations, the demand for cataract services has never been greater! Yet, this demand continues to rise. This has not been matched by a rise in resources however, with fewer surgeons in the UK compared to other European countries. There is therefore, a huge opportunity to re-design and streamline services to improve efficiency and reconfigure the patient pathway.
This undertaking will require an investment in staff through opportunities to develop skills and knowledge across the cataract pathway. Through such staff development, we aim to increase capacity in a patient-centred approach.
This is where the OPT cataract training programme fits in – to provide a framework for specialist nurses, optometrists and orthoptists to enhance their existing skills and become confident practitioners and clinicians. Together, sharing the development and leadership in re-shaping and delivering cataract services in the decades ahead.
The cataract module is spread across three levels. Each level is designed to build on top of the other and encourages a stepwise increase in complexity, practical skills and knowledge related to cataract care.
Each level has established competencies, defined by a comprehensive curriculum, that you will accumulate. Learning is multifaceted and draws on existing opportunities in the workplace, clinical teaching, supervised instruction, and self-directed elements. There are also regional teaching events and resources that take place throughout the year. This will give an opportunity to meet other learners and contribute to the emerging OPT community.
The OPT cataract programme encompasses all aspects of patient management throughout the cataract patient pathway including:
- Ophthalmic examination skills and techniques
- Dealing with the needs of ophthalmic patients, including communication, consent, patient safety and the administration of drugs.
- Teaching & education
- Personal development, including reflective practice and the maintenance of skills
Your learning will be supported by online resources mapped to the curriculum. Each learner will maintain a portfolio with each completed competency. The portfolio is the culmination of your work based assessments (WBAs) and other evidence of learning such as reflections, audits, and quality improvement projects.
You can find links to helpful additional information here:
The full cataract curriculum can be found here.
If you are interested in enrolling in the OPT cataract programme, the process is as follows:
- Talk to your Trust managers and clinicians – ensure they are able to support your learning plan.
- Identify your Unit OPT Lead (if there is one). Discuss your plans with them. It is important that you have at least 1 session per week in the area of OPT training your wish to undertake (e.g cataract). The OPT Unit Lead should be able to allocate you an appropriate Educational Supervisor.
- Complete an enrolment form and send to the OPT Regional Lead (for Cataract OPT this is: Tom Butler, Consultant Ophthalmologist, James Paget University Hospital, email@example.com). If you have already completed sections 1 and 2 above, then this will be a formality. If you are having difficulty getting started (eg if your unit does not currently have an OPT Unit Lead), then your regional lead can help support you.
- Once you have approval from the Regional OPT Lead, you can submit your signed and completed enrolment form to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. On successful enrolment you will be sent an individual learner number, together with all the curriculum and portfolio documents.
- Meet with your educational supervisor at least once every 6 months. This will allow you to ensure your training is on track, and discuss and address any issues that are identified.
- There is generally no time-limit on completion of the OPT programme, but it is expected that you will submit your completed portfolio within 5 years of enrolment.
Regional OPT Lead (Cataract): Tom Butler, Consultant Ophthalmologist, James Paget University Hospital, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head of School: Narman Puvanachandra, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. email@example.com
RCOphth OPT: firstname.lastname@example.org