UKOA quarterly meeting December 2017

Wednesday 6 December marked the second meeting of the newly formed UK Ophthalmology Alliance (UKOA). The UKOA brings together eye care professionals, patient groups and national ophthalmic bodies across the UK to improve efficiency and pathways, create quality standards, benchmark performance and provide support in areas where performance can be improved. The alliance also provides a national voice on eye care issues, especially around efficiency and the use of resources. Opening the meeting, David Probert, chief executive at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, heralded the collaborative nature of the alliance as as an “opportunity to drive real change” in tackling disparities and inconsistencies within ophthalmic practice.  Currently co-led by Allison Beal, Getting It Right First Time project lead at Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Melanie Hingorani, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the alliance outlined its intention to provide a forum for clinical expertise and best practice across three main work streams: data and costs; quality standards and services and staff.


One of the key topics from the day’s agenda was procurement. John Warrington, managing director at Healthyspend, gave delegates an overview of the NHS system and spoke of the challenges faced with large variations in suppliers and their products. Bringing experience from orthopaedics, senior clinical procurement specialist, Khalid Shihadah, stressed the benefits of working together to drive down costs and increase buying power. Khalid affirmed to the alliance that NHS practice shouldn’t be determined by commercial practice and that shrewd procurement practice was not to be seen as limiting but rather as a rational approach.  Melanie Hingorani followed with a practical example of the countless variations and personal preferences within the purchase of intravitreal packs and how to develop a consistent best practice pack.

As part of the alliance’s commitment to develop standards, Melanie Hingorani shared the intraocular cataract lens standard which will support the new version of the national Never Events Framework to help prevent insertion of the wrong lens during cataract surgery. Questions from the floor related to the varying definitions of never events and how these could be streamlined. Recommendations of how to add authority to further standards proposed by the alliance were also heard. Colin Jones, consultant ophthalmologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, furthered the debate on quality standards by examining options for the best pathway for managing giant-cell arteritis. David Galloway, director at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, followed by exploring professional input to help develop a patient standard specific for ophthalmic care and will help co-ordinate its development by patients together with the alliance and its members at trust level.  This was followed by Alison David, GIRFT lead who updated members on their key findings. The day also allowed the initial plans for UKOA management training to be shared by Glyn Wood, business development manager at Manchester Eye Hospital. The proposal was warmly received by those in attendance and will involve clinical and non clinical alliance managers being trained together by fellow members and external volunteers.

The latter half of the meeting focused on efficient throughput practice. Robin Hamilton, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, gave his view of the varying clinic styles in providing intravitreal injections. This opened up a healthy debate among delegates as to ways to upskill staff to administer injections thus improving efficiency. Lessons were also learned from Sunderland Eye Infirmary as Tina Morrell, ‎directorate manager, and Denise Johnson, matron, talked through managing a successful cataract service. Following roundtable group discussion, the day finished with Robert Gray, ophthalmic coder from UCLH, exploring the initial plans of a UKOA coding group while, Badrul Hussain, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, shared a case study on the success of clinical coding at Moorfields.

The alliance meets quarterly and the next meeting is scheduled for 1 March 2018. For more information, email  

Last updated: 3rd January 2018