Meet the Trainees
Becky

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Hi I’m Becky and I’ve been lucky enough to work on the East of England Ophthalmology Rotation since 2011. It’s a really friendly region and all the trainees are well looked after. At first the sheer size of the Deanery can be quite daunting, however the Training Programme Director tells you well in advance which units you will be working in (pretty much as soon as you’re appointed), enabling you to plan where you’re going to live- no nasty surprises on ARCP day (as I’ve heard can be the case from peers in other parts of the country).

The Deanery is extremely accommodating and allows trainees to go LTFT if desired, or pursue research- I was given time out of training to carry out clinical research. There’s a good mix of DGH and Teaching hospital experience and you’re able to finish training with a large number of surgical procedures. During my time in the Deanery I’ve performed over 1350 cataract operations (…and counting- well over the 350 cases required by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists).  There is an exceptionally well co-ordinated  programme of regular teaching and courses within the Deanery, meaning clinical exams are a breeze when the time comes.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I know you will too!

Ollie

  Hi, I’m Ollie and I have just completed 7 fabulous years of Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST) in the East of England Deanery. During that time, I settled in the beautiful City of Cambridge and rotated through Addenbrookes and 5 other regional hospitals on the Western side of the deanery. All of the units have been incredibly supportive with some great surgical and clinical mentors. The EOE deanery offers the perfect mix of excellent teaching hospitals where you get solid teaching and exposure to tertiary pathology as well as regional hospitals where you are able to quickly get up to speed on surgical numbers. It is indicative of the success of surgical mentorship that many trainees in the region complete well over 1,000 cataracts during their 7 years.

Our Trainee Programme Director Narman has also been extremely supportive of extracurricular endeavours.  I was Chair of the College's Ophthalmologists in Training Group and completed the Cambridge University Chief Residents’ Management and  Leadership Development Programme.
Having gained my CCT this Summer, I am currently completing a Fellowship in Cornea at Moorfields Eye Hospital and I will be starting a Substantive Consultant Post at Queen’s Hospital, Romford next year.
I could not recommend the East of England Deanery more highly for your OST.
Tas

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"Hi, I’m Tas and I’m a clinician-scientist ophthalmologist coming to the end of OST in the East of England. The deanery is fantastic for teaching, with monthly OSCE-style sessions, clinical training and surgical exposure, as well as for research and translational ophthalmology. Our TPD and Head of School have been extremely flexible in enabling time out of programme for me to complete an MD at the University of Cambridge. The deanery has provided financial support for attendance at international conferences to disseminate my research, facilitate collaboration and interact with world leaders in their field. My return to programme was tailored  to allow a smooth transition to clinical practice while allowing me to continue my research. 

 

While working in the region I have published both clinical and basic science research, receiving international recognition from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and the European Association for Vision and Eye Research. I have gained experience in writing grant applications, working with industry and pharmaceutical companies, patents and intellectual property and received training at the Judge Business School. I led the development of a national award to promote vision research while collaborating with AstraZeneca and the National Institutes of Health and successfully advocated for investment in vision research at Capitol Hill with ARVO as the only UK representative. I have recently been appointed to the ARVO Board of Trustees as the Members-in-Training Representative and am the Trainee Representative to the Cambridge Eye Trust. I have also really enjoyed mentoring medical students and junior doctors and seeing them progress to OST. 

It’s been a brilliant and formative experience, with a strong network of supportive peers and mentors and has provided a wealth of opportunities to pursue my clinical, surgical and research interests. I would definitely recommend training in the region. "

Nick

Hi, I’m Nick, and I am in my final year of training in the East of England Deanery. The deanery is a supportive and responsive one, with those in charge having a clear and active interest in providing an enjoyable and productive 7 years. The programme has provided me with a solid clinical and surgical repertoire, and placed me in good stead for my next role as the corneal fellow at Moorfields Eye Hospital. During my time, I have performed almost 1000 cataract surgeries, undertaken a research MD, and have had ample opportunities to devote to my chosen area of subspecialism. I am grateful to the deanery, and in particular my TPD and Head of School, for being encouraging when I wanted to undertake an MD, and when my personal situation changed and I requested for certain units to be closer to home. Having worked at most of the units, I must say best training year was when I relocated to beautiful Norfolk and worked both in Great Yarmouth and Norwich. Aside from quickly building up my surgical numbers and clinical skills, I was able to explore Norfolk and enjoy its delicacies both in land and by the sea (the North Sea can actually get pretty warm in the summer!). All the units I have worked in, from Yarmouth to Watford, have excellent and dedicated consultant trainers who willingly and ably adapt in support of my training needs. There are also some exceptional exam preparation courses (free for deanery trainees!) that are so good, that attending them makes it almost impossible to fail your exams (Part 1, refraction, Part 2 written and oral). Mr Puvanachandra’s proactive attitude towards hands on training and teaching (mainly real-life scenario/OSCE based) and refreshing approach to ARCPs has led our Deanery into the top of rankings in the country. Come join us in the East of England, a jewel in the crown of this fine specialty!

 

Khayam

"I am Khayam and I am just over halfway through my training having completed my ST4 year in August 2019, and I am currently taking time out of programme to complete a clinical research MD. Having completed my undergraduate and foundation training in London, taking up my training post in East Anglia was a new venture for me, especially as my family is based in London

The role of our training program director, Mr.Narman Puvanachandra, in ensuring that each trainee’s individual needs are met cannot be understated. The deanery is one of the largest in the country but regions are divided into three sub-regions so trainees do not have to travel great distances when they change placements. My last two placements have been in units in Essex and I was able to commute from London without any issues. Each unit is well-supported, offering substantial clinical experience in all the subspecialties, thereby giving trainees the relevant experience to make well-informed decisions when deciding on a career path in their latter years of training. The surgical experience offered in the region is considerable, and is complemented by the availability of a surgical wet lab, as well as annual glaucoma, oculoplastics, and strabismus courses. Participation in audit and research is encouraged and I have been privileged to present in a range of conferences including BIPOSA, BEAVRS, BOPSS, and Congress, reflecting the opportunities available in each sub-specialty. The regional teaching offered is of a high level, with a great emphasis on preparing trainees for the FRCOphth examinations. Preparation for examinations is also supported by refraction and OSCE courses which are very popular with the trainees.

 

Despite the sheer size of East Anglia, it is a very sociable deanery and I have made some lifelong friends. There is indeed something for everyone! I am an avid sports fan and during my year in Norfolk & Norwich, I played weekly 7-a-side football matches with the surgeons (which included our very own TPD as centre-forward), culminating in the end of year Medics vs Surgeons match. I also play regular tennis with fellow trainees and consultants in the region.  Trainees meet regularly to sample the array of cuisines scattered across the region and for those with a sweet tooth, the crepes in Norwich are exquisite.

We look forward to welcoming you to East Anglia."

Matt

Congratulations for making it to this website! Ophthalmology is amazing speciality. The East of England was my first choice when applying for ophthalmic specialist training (OST). After six years, I would happily settle here. It has been an absolute pleasure to train in this region! 

The region is perfectly located. It stretches from Hertfordshire at its western border to the East coast and from north Cambridgeshire down to northern London. In each rotation I would love exploring the local areas, whether it was historic cities such as Norwich and Cambridge or the natural delights of the Norfolk coast and the broads. Although this is a large area, our rotations are carefully considered and discussed to fit in with both training needs and personal circumstances. 

The flexibility in allocating our rotations exemplifies one of the biggest strengths of the deanery. There is a laid back and accommodating style that helps to get the most out of the many available opportunities. With the momentum from exemplary local and regional teaching/courses, we are encouraged take up more senior responsibilities as we move through the training program. Aside from the obligatory college requirements, there is an unspoken and gentle pastoral care that exists behind the scene promoting a personal development for life within the NHS.

Another strength of the region (my favourite part of ophthalmology) is the surgical opportunities available. This is the hidden gem that lurks in the East of England! The standard of training and support is outstanding. Some of our consultants are trainers on the college courses and most importantly there is a variety of surgical techniques and "styles" to learn from. I love trying to learn each of them. The surgical exposure is very impressive and is there for cataracts and subspecialties.

I hope to see you around in the deanery in the future!

 

Carl
I’m Carl and I am a sixth year Ophthalmology trainee in the East of England. Having studied in Cambridge as an undergraduate and taken Foundation jobs in London, returning to the East of England felt like coming home. The fact that the training units are spread out over a wide geographical area is well-recognised but great efforts are made to accommodate our training needs and personal circumstances such that I and other trainees have been able to establish roots in the region and find posts at units within a reasonable commuting distance.
 
Any geographic inconvenience is made up for by the strength of the training opportunities here. The monthly core teaching programme has grown up whilst I’ve been training in the region and is now (literally) second to none. We are very fortunate to have a range of additional in-region teaching courses on trauma management, advanced cataract surgery, laser simulation and exam preparation to name a few. My clinical and surgical supervisors have been passionate about sharing their experiences and knowledge, yet also understanding about and responsive to the demands of juggling training requirements, clinical commitments and a personal life. The teaching hospitals, Addenbrooke’s and Norfolk & Norwich, offer excellent sub-specialty exposure whilst there is an abundance of surgical experience to be gained in the surrounding district general hospitals. 
 
I’d highly recommend the East of England for your OST application and wish you the best of luck with it!
Wednesday, 21 November, 2018
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