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Hospital optometrist receives award recognition

The Macular Society has announced Denise Voon as Optometrist of the Year in its Awards for Excellence

07 Sep 2019 by Emily McCormick

Hospital optometrist, Denise Voon, has been named Optometrist of the Year in the Macular Society Awards for Excellence.

Ms Voon received the award in recognition of the service she provides to patients and staff in the macular disease clinic at Amersham Hospital in Buckinghamshire.

The optometrist, who has worked at the hospital for 13 years, is heavily involved in the NHS trust’s macular suite and low vision service. Over the last 12 months, Ms Voon has been instrumental in the delivery of patient and peer education in the macular disease clinic.

Earlier this year, the hospital optometrist successfully established a biannual patient support event at the hospital that is designed to enable patients to learn more and speak to experts about the condition. Alongside talks, staff including hospital consultants, eye clinic liaison officers, support service staff and suppliers were on-hand to speak to patients during the first event.

Ensuring that herself and her peers are also empowered and up-to-date on the latest macular research, Ms Voon has also set up an in-house education programme for optometrists within Amersham Hospital. The programme features education on a range on macular disease related topics including gene therapy and stem cell research.

“It’s good for the patients to be empowered with information, but the optometrists need to know be informed too. I want our optometrists to be at the forefront of everything that is out there so that we can support our patients,” Ms Voon shared.

The hospital optometrist confirmed that with positive feedback from colleagues, the education programme has become bigger and more exciting over the last year. “This year we have extended the programme to include additional skills such as coaching techniques for our optometrists, which is particularly useful with low vision clinics as we help support patients in their journey,” she said.

Speaking about going above and beyond in her role as a hospital optometrist, Ms Voon said that she is inspired every day by the work that goes on in the macular degeneration service at the hospital. “Our consultants have worked very hard to make the service the best that it can be,” she said OT, explaining: “It is a one stop clinic for patients who have wet macular degeneration who can come and have a scan, see the doctor and have an injection all in one visit. It is really slick. In that clinic, one doctor can see 22 patients in a session which is an increase from eight or nine patients previously.”

The Macular Society Awards for Excellence are hosted annually and aim to recognise the work that goes into providing services and care for people with macular disease.

Commenting on the award, Ms Voon told OT that she was shocked and humbled to learn of the win. “We do what we do because we want to help people. For that to be recognised is really, really special,” she added.

Ms Voon will attend a special awards ceremony at the Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge Hotel on 21 September where she will be presented with the accolade.

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