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Whistle blown on clinical failures
Perth-based optometrist Mary Docherty has been suspended for 12 months by a General Optical Council fitness to practise committee after a panel heard she failed to conduct essential ocular examinations and did not keep accurate records over a period of six years.
Docherty was reported to the NHS by a whistle-blower who was concerned about the care of nine patients. The General Ophthalmic Services Performance Review Group (PRG) investigated the records and found concerns in eight out the nine cases. A wider PRG review of 60 patient records found ‘multiple incidents of inadequate patient management, some potentially resulting in long term harm.’
In July 2020, Docherty informed the GOC that she had taken up a
new career as a celebrant and was no longer working as an optometrist. She agreed not to apply for registration in the future.
Eye care delays outlined at Holyrood An optical campaign group told Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) that over 29,000 patients have experienced waiting times of more than 16 weeks to receive specialist NHS ophthalmology treatment.
During a reception at Holyrood on June 1, The Eyes Have It (TEHI) partnership and Sight Scotland said NHS figures showed these patients made up over 50% of the entire ophthalmology waiting list.
Ophthalmology was the third busiest outpatient specialty in the Scottish NHS and accounted for 10% of new outpatient appointments in Scotland, the
Pick of the posts
A lack of evidence Optician published an article (7 Days, 03.06.22) by Neil Retallic, president of the BCLA, on the paper entitled ‘All soft contact lenses are not created equal’. The thrust of this paper was that, as a consequence of this inequality, contact lenses should ‘never be substituted for another lens type in the absence of a new prescription.’
However, the report authors state that ‘the present authors are unaware of any direct evidence in the literature demonstrating adverse ocular effects or other unwanted consequences of contact lens substitution.’
To underline this lack of evidence, eye care professionals will be aware that the matter of ‘substitution’ was examined in great detail by the GOC, which recorded in an ICO report from November 7, 2017 (FOI report FS50689175) that there was no evidence to suggest any risk with brand substitution. This, they added, was communicated online to the public via the GOC’s website. ‘No evidence’ surely means ‘no evidence’. Ronald S Hamilton, executive chair, Daysoft
Craig Spalding, CEO of Sight Scotland, said: ‘The situation has worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a dramatic fall in outpatient activity, but there is now an opportunity to improve efficiency, effectiveness and patient experience as the healthcare system looks towards Covid-19 recovery. Reducing waiting lists must be a key priority.’
College adviser awarded an MBE Optometrist and clinical adviser at the College of Optometrists, Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, has been awarded an MBE for services to optometry in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, which was announced as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Colin Davidson, optometrist and president of the College of Optometrists, said: ‘It’s wonderful to see the work of our profession celebrated. Not only does the award represent outstanding personal achievement, but it also reflects growing recognition, by decision-makers and the public, of the vital contribution to public health that all optometrists and
4 OPTICIAN 10 June 2022