To obtain a picture of the current status, training and governance for advanced practice and extended roles in the ophthalmic hospital non-medical workforce.
A 10 question, quantitative survey was designed with multidisciplinary members of the UK Ophthalmology Alliance and sent to the membership to obtain information on expanded non-medical roles.
34 of the 58 UKOA member hospitals responded (58% response rate). All responding units were using registered optometrists, orthoptists and nurses to undertake expanded outpatient roles and 28/34 (82%) had expanded roles for undertaking procedures. Some units had large numbers of staff undertaking these roles. There were noticeable trends for certain professional groups to undertake certain roles. For example, nurses were undertaking most procedures, apart from lasers which were mainly delivered by optometrists. Nurses had the lowest banding and optometrists the highest for apparently similar roles. Training was mostly in-house apprenticeship style although some formal external qualifications were undertaken.
Ophthalmology is developing many innovative roles for the non-medical workforce and, with the launch of the OCCCF training, this is likely to increase. Terminology is confusing and a categorisation suitable for ophthalmology is proposed.