Moorfields celebrates Allied Health Professions Day

Founded by Rachael Brandreth, a dietitian and speech and language therapist, AHP Day champions staff from across the professions. From art therapists to chiropodists, paramedics and orthoptists, AHPs make a significant impact to the care and ongoing well-being of patients.

Moorfields AHPs

Patients at Moorfields are cared for by a number of AHPs, including radiographers, operating department practitioners and orthoptists. Moorfields is also home to the UK’s largest orthoptic department. 

We caught up with some of our orthoptists to find out a bit more about their roles and what AHP Day means to them, including our head of orthoptics, who explains why AHPs are so important to the NHS.

Introducing Kelly MacKenzie, head of orthoptics

Role at Moorfields
In addition to my corporate responsibilities to the trust, I provide clinical and strategic leadership to the largest Orthoptic department in the UK. With a team of 34, we are based across seven Moorfields sites, and provide services to three other units including the national hospital for neurology and neurosurgery. With over 34,000 attendances per year, 3,500 vision screening assessment and 60 stroke ward assessments no two days are the same.

Most rewarding part of your role
The opportunity to work with a dedicated enthusiastic team to deliver high quality care, education, research and professional development.  

Why are AHP so important to the NHS?
As the third biggest workforce in the England, the 14 individual professional disciplines of which orthoptics is one, work across every sector, diagnosing and caring for people at every life stage, working across all clinical specialities and providing clinical leadership at all levels. All of these ensure we have an active role in integrated, person-centred care which is the key to service transformation. #AHPsDAY #strongertogether #allied4areason

Introducing Dr Dipesh E Patel, advanced orthoptist/honorary research associate

Role at Moorfields

I am a clinical academic Orthoptist at Moorfields/UCL. My work involves a frontline clinical role, managing patients with eye movement and developmental vision problems. In addition to this, I undertake translational clinical research, in collaboration with clinicians, scientists, psychologists, health economists and statisticians internationally.

Most rewarding part of your role

Each and every interaction I have with patients. The ability to improve vision and alleviate symptoms is incredibly rewarding. I particularly enjoy discussing how the research we undertake at Moorfields has improved/informed our care.

Most surprising part of your role

Orthoptics is a small profession, and thus I think most things we do would surprise people! I think our greatest impact is probably around leading school-entry vision screening programmes nationally. These programmes try to capture every child, ensuring that any vision problems are detected early, children are referred promptly, and treatment is managed by specialists with expertise in children’s vision disorders.

Introducing Dr Siobhán Ludden, research/specialist orthoptist

Role at Moorfields
Currently I divide my time between a clinical post as a specialist orthoptist and a research role. 

In my clinical capacity I see patients of all ages across the various paediatric and adult orthoptic clinics at Moorfields.  As a research orthoptist I work alongside the Paediatric Clinical Trials team and am involved in the various paediatric trials there.  My predominant research at the moment includes evaluating a new picture based visual acuity test for young children.  We have also just last week started a new trial which will investigate a binocular treatment for amblyopia using Nintendos.

Most rewarding part of your role
Knowing that I can make a difference to patients, both in the clinical role where I can help improve patient’s vision or double vision and in the research capacity where we try to improve treatments and overall patient care.

Most surprising part of your role

People are often surprised about the wide age range of patients that we can see.  As orthoptists we can see patients of all ages, from tiny babies to elderly patients. Something else that people may not know is that I am also involved in leading the Early Career Orthoptic Researchers group.

Introducing Leena Patel, consultant orthoptist - education lead

Role at Moorfields
I am the lead for all undergraduate and postgraduate training in the Orthoptics department at Moorfields.  This also includes observers, optometrists, national and international medical colleagues.  In addition to raising teaching standards and improving student outcomes, I am also an honorary lecturer and external examiner at City University delivering lectures on their binocular vision module.  This is in addition to my clinical duties and specialising as a neuro-orthoptist.

Most rewarding part of your role

The most rewarding aspect of my role is teaching the future Orthoptic workforce and the difference the high standards of teaching can make to an individual’s learning and experience and helping them to reach their full potential.  With all other eye care professionals, demonstrating the work of an orthoptist and the importance of multi-disciplinary team working.

Most surprising part of your role
I am one of the three designated fire wardens in the Orthoptics department...you may have seen me with my fluorescent yellow tabard when the fire alarms have been set off. 

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