A safe framework for the use of extended skills will be described during consultant ophthalmologist Dr David Lockington’s Therapeutics London presentation IP optoms – armed and dangerous?
Dr Lockington will draw from his experience of supervising the West of Scotland Teach and Treat (WOSCOTT) clinic for independent prescribing (IP) optometrists.
He will discuss issues of decision making in the context of a pressurised work environment, with a particular emphasis on referrals and the use of topical steroids.
Dr Lockington emphasised that the first duty of a doctor is to ‘do no harm.’
“This principle applies to all prescribers, so I hope that this thought-provoking session encourages the attendees to constantly consider the impact of their actions,” he elaborated.
“In theory, IP optometrists should streamline and improve the patient journey. However, in practice, mismanagement of conditions could make it much worse,” Dr Lockington added.
There is a historical disconnect between primary care optometry, GPs and secondary care hospital eye services, he shared.
Dr Lockington suggested that optometrists have little idea about the financial impact of their referrals, while those working in secondary care lack awareness of cases that have been effectively managed within optometry practices in primary care.
Hospital eye services are currently overwhelmed with ever-increasing volumes of referrals, he said.
Dr Lockington emphasised the need for better integration between primary and secondary care, with optimised pathways and protocols.
“Without that structure there is a real possibility that IP will just make capacity issues worse, not better,” he added.
Dr Lockington said that when he asks WOSCOTT students why they are undertaking IP, the vast majority are “conscientious professionals who wish to expand the skills and services they can offer for the benefit of their patients.”
He added that there are also practitioners who wonder whether IP will eventually become part of the undergraduate curriculum and do not want to be left behind.
“I trust my presentation will help provide a safe framework to encourage optometrists to make use of these skills appropriately, and by keeping the patient safe, the optometrist will also keep themselves safe,” Dr Lockington said.
Therapeutics London (23 – 24 September) is designed to appeal to practitioners who are part way through their therapeutics qualification or who are considering the independent prescribing route, as well as those who want to make better use of the existing core competencies.
For more information and to book, visit the AOP website.