We are calling on all Heads of Service and Professional Leads to check their data on the NHS Electronic Staff Record (ESR) to ensure that it correctly identifies the amount of Orthoptists.

In our work promoting the orthoptic profession, it is essential that we have accurate data. However the current data from the ESR has inflated the number of Orthoptists working in the NHS. Indeed, current figures from NHS Digital records more Orthoptists working in the NHS than the total number registered with HCPC.

This is potentially due to the inclusion of other eyecare professionals working in the same departments, such as Optometrists and Ophthalmic technicians.

This inflation of numbers has the potential to undermine our work highlighting the need for more Orthoptists to fulfil demand within the NHS. This is particularly relevant as we are currently feeding into discussions over the workforce requirements for the implementation of the new NHS Long-Term Plan.

Veronica Greenwood, Chair of BIOS, has therefore written a guide identifying steps that all orthoptic managers should take to ensure that your data is correct.

Please do take the time to ask these questions. It will make a huge difference.

What we would like you to do:

  • Read Veronica’s full letter to Heads of Service and Professional Leads here.

  • Ask your human resources team for answers to the key questions

  • Contact Veronica with the numbers of non-Orthoptists you have found in your data

  1. Identify who has been assigned an Allied Health Professional staff group in your organisation – the area relates to the subjective code used on ESR to determine the regulatory or other family status (an example of an area is Allied Health Professional, Health Care Scientist, Nursing and Midwifery, Additional Clinical Support)
  2. Ask the workforce team to identify who is coded under the occupational code of orthoptics / optics
  3. Identify from this information who does not have a registration with the HCPC
  4. Compare with your actual registered orthoptists
  5. Ensure the workforce that are not orthoptists are flagged and reassigned to their correct area

The incorrect figure of Orthoptists on the ESR which is directly used by Health Education England (HEE) produces a number of additional risks for orthoptics:

  • It will mask or incorrectly report our vacancy rates
  • It provides an incorrect message about regulation and the protection of title
  • It would fail to provide an accurate measure any impact of interventions made directly by Orthoptists
  • Reporting of oversupply of Orthoptists in some geographical areas is incorrect
  • The full vulnerability and ‘at ‘risk’ status cannot be fully understood.

It would be extremely useful if you could contact Veronica with the numbers of non-Orthoptists you have found in your data so she can report the changes to the NHS Improvement (NHSI) team and HEE. It makes a huge difference.