Scope names IP bursary award winners

Following the final of Scope’s first Independent Prescriber Bursary Award, the company has awarded three optometrists with a bursary of £1500 towards course fees

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Scope Eyecare has awarded three optometrists with bursaries towards independent prescribing (IP) courses, as part of an awards scheme launched earlier this year.

The winners of Scope’s first Independent Prescriber Bursary Awards 2022 include: Ganeshbabu Mahalingam, specialist optometrist from Bradford, Danielle Penney, optometrist at Coton & Hamblin in London, and Faye Matthews, optometrist at Niall O’Kane Optometrists (part of Eye Academy) in Rochester.

The three winners will receive a bursary of £1500 to put towards independent prescriber course fees.

Mahalingam explained that, having recently started a “dream project” of a speciality clinic, “I believe holding the IP qualification is vital to enhance the patient care.”

The winners of Scope’s Independent Prescriber Bursary Awards (left to right): Faye Matthews, Ganeshbabu Mahalingam, and Danielle Penney
Describing the impact of the award he shared that, with the clinic in its early days, “it is difficult to allocate budget for the qualification amongst various other things. Winning this bursary means that I am stepping forward in my dream clinic.”

Thanking Scope for the opportunity, Matthews shared that the bursary would enable her to become an IP optometrist “much sooner than anticipated,” allowing her to provide “the much-needed support that being an IP brings for my colleagues, patients, and the wider community in the near future.”

Penney also felt IP would support her practice, sharing: “I am absolutely delighted to have won an independent prescriber bursary from Scope. My patients and their journey are extremely important to me and the ability to prescribe will add another level to the patient care I can provide.”

The winners were named after an application process that involved submitting a case study detailing how having an IP qualification would have improved the patient’s experience and care.

The awards received over 70 applications, with eight finalists going through to the final on 12 July, where they presented case studies and answered questions from a panel of judges led by Professor Nick Rumney, and including Sarah Farrant, Louise Madden and Ailbhe Ní Ráighne.

Commenting on the finalists’ presentations, Rumney said: “It’s heartening to see the quality and ambition of applicants and how optometry can grow and contribute to patient care.”

In recognition of reaching the final, each of the runners up will receive a £100 educational voucher. The five runners up were: Anuj Patel, Bhavisha Patel, Ravindra Kassie, Sophie Mulroy and Jasmeen Khera.

Edel Duffy, head of medical at Scope, shared that the company is proud of the success of the initiative, and that the award garnered so much interest amongst optometrists “wanting to upskill, which can only benefit patients.”

Scope said it hopes to turn the initiative into an annual award, with plans for a 2023 Independent Prescriber Bursary Award.