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  • 30 November 2015 2:16 PM | Anonymous

    Chancellor George Osborne last week delivered the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and Autumn Budget to the House of Commons. Read in full here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-and-spending-review-2015

    The main announcement for the NHS was confirmation of the commitment to increase NHS funding from £101bn currently to £120bn by 2020/21, with the first £6bn delivered upfront next year.

    Other points of interest to employers in the NHS include:

    • tax-free childcare costs for parents working more than 16h and earning less than £100,000
    • bursaries for student nurses to be removed and replaced with student loans and also cuts to AHP bursaries
    • creation of up to 10,000 new nursing training places
    • more than £5bn for health research including genomics and dementia
    • £600m of additional funding for mental health services, including access to talking therapies and crisis care
    • a new council tax levy of up to 2 per cent for local authorities to spend specifically on adult social care, with the aim of bringing £2bn more into the social care system
    • Better Care fund increased to £1.5bn by 2019/20
    • state pension will increase next year to £119.30 per week
    • a new single tier pension payment of £155.65 for new pensioners from next year
    • an apprenticeship levy to raise £3bn a year, set at 0.5 per cent of the payroll bill but with a £15,000 allowance for employers to offset the levy.

    Commenting on the cut to AHP bursaries - the BIOS Chair, Rowena McNamara, said:

    "The British & Irish Orthoptic Society objects strongly to the news from the Spending Review that bursaries for AHPs are being cut. It is only going to add to the increased unpredictability of numbers of undergraduates being trained as Orthoptists (if applicants have more debt resulting from a lack of a range of available funding). It could also mean that universities may accept a larger number onto undergraduate courses - leading to an oversupply.

    With this additional debt hanging over applicants, smaller AHP professions like Orthoptics will struggle to recruit to undergraduate courses.

    Potentially the pool of applicants then taking up extended roles, some of which are beginning to replace medics, may be disrupted. (As we know, medical ophthalmologists are projected to be in short supply by the Centre For Workforce Intelligence).

    The undergraduate commissioning system currently takes into account AHP bursaries and so, without this, it would have to be overhauled. The risk to this finely balanced system is that projected workforce requirements would be severely disrupted and chaotic.

    Without the funding provided by NHS England for bursaries, Health Education England itself will be underfunded and potentially understaffed removing the current quality assurance and robust commissioning cycle associated with this process."


  • 28 November 2015 10:15 PM | Anonymous

    Claire Saha, BIOS Exemptions Project Lead, reports as follows:

    Following the public consultation on proposals to allow orthoptists to sell, supply and administer medicines under exemptions within the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, the Commission of Human Medicines has considered the proposal.  The minutes from this meeting were published on 27 November 2015 and are available here - see page 2 onwards CHM Summary Minutes.pdf

    The Commission will submit their recommendations to ministers, which is likely to be considered before the end of the year.  Subject to ministerial approval, changes to legislation will be made in 2016, with courses to train orthoptists to use exemptions available during 2017.

  • 20 November 2015 10:42 PM | Anonymous
    Staff Side PRB evidence 2016-17.docx

    BIOS and BOSTU members contribute to Pay Review Body evidence - read more in the link above

    Results from the 2015 British and Irish Orthoptic Society survey of members:

    ·         75% reported that they did not have enough resources to carry out their job, either in time or equipment or both

    ·         Over 70% said morale in the department was worse than last year, particularly having to deal with continual change and increasing pressure to work harder with fewer resources

    ·         Over 65% work between 5-10 hours overtime per week, with 60% of those stating these hours are not paid

  • 18 November 2015 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    Many thanks to those who spotted the misleading and scare-mongering article from the Daily Mail this week.

    Working with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, we today succeeded in getting the headline: "Girl, 5, to have her eye REMOVED and put back in place by surgeons to fix squint" changed to a less sensational one: "Girl, 5, to have her eye muscles shortened by surgeons to fix her squint."

    We have also asked them to publish this jointly agreed statement:

    Professor Carrie MacEwen, president of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said, “Surgery to correct squints is extremely common. There are possible complications or risk of infection with every surgery, but squint surgery is a low risk procedure and carried out under general anaesthetic.”

    She told Mailonline, “It involves adjusting the small muscles on the coat of the eye (the sclera) to help change the position of the eyes and straighten them. The eye is never removed from the socket to carry out this procedure.” Professor MacEwen added the surgery is the most common eye operation carried out on children. However, it is less common now as first-line treatments include glasses and eye patches.  www.rcophth.ac.uk

    Anita Mccallum, a spokesperson for the British & Irish Orthoptic Society said, “The health professionals involved in referring, diagnosing, treating and correcting squints are Orthoptists (who will diagnose and manage) and Ophthalmologists who perform the surgery. Optometrists who practise in the community can also diagnose squint and advise on treatment. Often the discovery of the condition starts with a referral from health visitors and GPs who will advise parents on the need to see a specialist.”

    Ms Mccallum added, “If squints are not corrected with surgery they can lead to permanent eye problems such as loss of binocular (two eyed) vision and can hamper social interactions and self-esteem, so it is important that people come forward for prompt attention. Treatment includes glasses for lazy vision (amblyopia) before surgery is performed.” www.orthoptics.org.uk

    Thanks again for everyone's vigilance - together we can change misinformation and misleading messages in the media.

  • 22 October 2015 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    4th of November is Wobbly Wednesday, a day to raise awareness and understanding about Nystagmus. They are using social media to help promote the day and have set up a Thunderclap – this is a way of posting the same message at the same time on Twitter or Facebook around the world.

    Lots of orthoptists have already signed up and if you haven't please do!. on Twitter or Facebook you could ask your trust to get involved. It’s very simple, just sign up online at https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/33037-wobblywednesday

  • 19 October 2015 1:51 PM | Anonymous

    International Orthoptic Congress, Rotterdam 2016

    A reminder that the deadline for submission of abstracts for the 2016 IOC is rapidly approaching and closes on December 1st. Abstracts can be submitted via http://ioacongress2016.org/abstracts

    The UK has a consistently good record of attendance and presentation at the IOC and it is an excellent way to meet orthoptists and hear about orthoptic research from across the globe. The IOC is also an ideal opportunity for new graduates to gain some presentation experience and raise the profile of your department.

    The programme is varied with 12 themed sessions in the areas of Amblyopia, Vision Screening, Binocular Vision, Strabismus, Strabismus Management, Low Vision, Cerebral Vision Impairment, Neuro-ophthalmology, Ocular Surgery, Technology & Eye Disease, Education (Orthoptic, Medical) and Other. In addition there will be special programme features such as the Burian Lecture (Dr Anna Horwood), Education forum and a Leadership forum. Other aspects include round table discussions, posters, three invited symposia and panels/forums centred around the ‘Bridging Worlds’ theme of the Congress.

    On behalf of the IOA, I encourage you to consider submitting a presentation and making the most of a relatively low cost trip to our Dutch neighbours.

    Dr David Newsham

    BIOS UK & Ireland representative on the IOA


  • 01 October 2015 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    BIOS supports Older People's Day http://olderpeoplesday.co.uk/

    Orthoptists support older people - e.g an 84 year old fitted with prisms; "I am so happy I will be able to play golf this afternoon with my friends, you have no idea what a difference it makes, I thought I would never be able to enjoy golf again" …..

    Rowena McNamara, Advanced Orthoptist, Hillingdon Hospital NHS trust.

  • 18 September 2015 3:45 PM | Anonymous

    BIOJ editor role BIOJ Editor Job Description Sep 15.docx

    BIOS Research Director role /resources/Documents/BIOS%20%20Research%20Director_%20JD%20Sept15.doc

    Open to orthoptists who are BIOS members

    Please apply to mailto:bios@orthoptics.org.uk

  • 13 September 2015 7:18 PM | Anonymous

    You may have seen in the news that the TUC Congress starts today! You will certainly see it in prominently in the press from tomorrow until Wednesday.

    Check out the special BOS TU Facebook page which is giving a snapshot of the events, speakers and images for you https://www.facebook.com/BOSTradeUnion

    And write a post if there is anything you want to comment on as we provide you with a flavour of proceedings whilst representing BOS TU and flying the flag for orthoptists.

  • 08 September 2015 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    National Eye Health Week logo, 21 - 27 September 2015, Your Vision Matters

    Eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK are joining together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all. http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/

    What are you doing to mark the week? Let us know mailto:bios@orthoptics.org.uk

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British and Irish Orthoptic Society

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Cambridge · CB1 2LA
United Kingdom