2017 Results

The 2017 results were announced at the Ophthalmology Honours event, which took place on Wednesday 6th December 2017 at BMA House, London. The event was hosted by Dr Ed Coats, adventurer and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Royal United Hospital, Bath.

If you would like to receive further information about any of the shortlisted entries, please contact the Ophthalmology Honours team on ophthalmologyhonours@unlimitedgroup.com

Best ophthalmology team


Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Ophthalmology Theatre & Seamless Surgery Team

The Ophthalmology Theatre & Seamless Surgery team aimed to reduce patient cancellations and improve theatre utilisation. They undertook a detailed analysis of all on-day elective patient cancellations to ascertain the reasons why surgery is cancelled and develop plans to address them.

The Ophthalmology Theatre & Seamless Surgery Team, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The team has developed and implemented:

  • a blood pressure (BP) policy — with no clinical evidence that high BP had any adverse effect on local anaesthetic cataract surgery, the team worked with the clinical and anaesthetic leads to develop a policy
  • a diabetic policy with detailed guidance of diabetes for cataract surgery patients
  • an inpatient report to highlight any patient currently admitted elsewhere, but due to have ophthalmology surgery shortly
  • e-theatre lists
  • a cataract video, available on YouTube or on DVD, which is sent out in advance of the appointment and returned after surgery. It provides a helpful explanation of the process in a fun way that reassures patients.

The team has also:

  • addressed complex patients to reduce associated on-day cancellations
  • introduced reminder calls to all ophthalmology elective day case patients
  • implemented vitreoretinal list changes to separately identify elective/non-elective lists
  • implemented Alturos minutes across the directorate.

Overall, the team’s actions have seen on-day elective cancellations reduce significantly from over 6% for Q1— Q3 in 2016/17 to 4.9% for Q4 and 3.9% for the first 6 weeks of 2017/18.

Why this was chosen

“Overall, this was a strong entry that demonstrated enthusiasm and efficiency across the board, and was very replicable with lots of good points for other centres to consider moving forwards. The judges really liked this entry as they felt it highlighted a solution to a real problem for eye centres across the UK, demonstrating that there is a need for the team to work together to solve it. The entry really encompassed the idea of teamworking, and the judges were impressed by how the team works together at all levels.”

Highly commended

St Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Corneal Crosslinking at St Paul’s Eye Unit

Corneal crosslinking (CXL) is the treatment administered to young people with keratoconus. The CXL team is a multi-disciplinary group of ophthalmic doctors, nurse specialists, assistant practitioners, clerical staff and optometrists.

The team’s vision was to provide a coherent, supportive end-to-end treatment service for people attending the keratoconus service, and successfully expand the service to treat more people while maintaining current standards of service and communications with patients.

Corneal Crosslinking at St Paul’s Eye Unit, St Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Standards were laid down as a series of internal competencies which are regularly assessed. There is an excellent rapport and mutual appreciation between doctors and nursing staff, creating a strong team ethos. Staff feel ‘special’ and therefore go the extra mile for patients, which in turn makes them more valued. It’s a virtuous circle which helps ensure standards are maintained. The number of patients seen and treated has risen from 227 in 2015 to over 400 in the past year. The team has successfully made the business case for expansion twice in two years. The fact that both requests were granted – the team is in the process of expanding its service now – and the fact that so many trusts across the country are increasing their referrals to St Paul’s for CXL, suggests the quality and impact of the service is excellent.

Why this was chosen

“This entry was well structured and emphasised extremely strong motivation, morale and communication among team members. In particular, this entry highlighted a small, focused and extremely enthusiastic team and demonstrated a great support network for staff. A number of the judges noted that it would be great to roll-out this initiative across the UK to help a number of centres.”

Winning team:

“It was nice to feel appreciated for the work carried out at St Paul’s. Going into work at St Paul’s every day and dealing with the volume of patients we see, sometimes it’s easy to forget the impact our roles have had on patients’ lives. This award has helped us to remember.”
The St Paul’s Eye Unit team


University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Southampton Medical Retina Team

The medical retina service, and in particular the anti-VEGF service for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion and diabetic macular oedema, has seen a huge growth in demand with expansion of new treatments and an ageing population over the last 10 years.

The aim of the Medical Retina team was to meet the increasing demand for anti-VEGF treatment in an elderly population who often travel long distances to reach the department whilst also maintaining quality of care with good clinical outcomes.

Southampton Medical Retina Team, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Service development has involved engaging all the medical retina team and ensuring support from outside the team (from HCAs to CEO) and has focused on an increase in physical space (the introduction of a mobile retina clinic), increased capacity and the development of treatment pathways.

The impact of the team’s actions over the last 3 years has increased injection capacity – the team now deliver c13,000 injections a year. The mobile retina clinic delivered in September 2017 will increase capacity, allow service to be delivered closer to home, has resulted in the appointment of more staff, and was the trigger for going paper light using Medisoft.

Why this was chosen

“This submission demonstrated a clear example of a good collaborative team and articulated a strong mixture of teamworking throughout. The judges felt that overall this was an extremely well-written entry, and provided an excellent example of multi-disciplinary working that emphasised the strengths of the team.”

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Best patient support or education initiative


St Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital
St Paul’s Eye Unit’s ECLO: helping staff to help patients

Corinna Swift, St Paul’s Eye Clinic Liaison Officer, came into post in July 2014 and immediately noticed gaps across the Trust in the support provided for patients with sight loss and associated staff training. These issues mainly centred on patients attending the hospital for treatment for one condition but who also have sight loss (often a hidden disability), and also involved people attending eye clinics. Entering a new environment is confusing and disorienting for these patients, and Corinna realised that while their medical needs were addressed, their practical and emotional needs were not being met by staff who had not been appropriately trained, resulting in distressed, vulnerable patients, some of whom made formal complaints. Following agreement from Learning Development staff, Corinna audited patients’ experiences and existing staff training, and drew on her personal experience as a visual impaired patient. Corinna’s first training programme was developed and delivered in autumn 2014 for new and existing staff at St Paul’s.

St Paul’s Eye Unit’s ECLO: helping staff to help patients, St Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital

This took a hands-on approach, incorporating videos and practical exercises on how to guide people with sight loss, videos on living with sight loss and simulation spectacles which attempt to replicate the experience of different eye conditions plus specially designed activities.

Voluntary attendees on the programme increased session on session, so much so that in 2016 the sessions were extended to all Trust staff. Corinna also creates bespoke sessions for different staff, for example consultants and nurses.

Corinna has also developed a Sight Loss Information Pack which features:

  • sight loss information booklet
  • ‘Me and My Sight Loss’ booklet – for completion by the patient, and guidance notes on completing the booklet
  • stickers for the patient’s file, and a wrist band to indicate their needs and a matching magnet for the nurses’ station board – less intrusive and more dignified than the ‘Blind’ sign previously used
  • a support service directory
  • Corinna’s contact details – as well as visiting each sight-impaired patient on ward or in clinic, patients and staff can contact her at any time

As a result of the implementation of both the staff training and the Sight Loss Information Pack, patient complaints are now virtually zero, and double the number of patients are making use of the services provided by Corinna.

Why this was chosen

“Overall, great feedback from the judging panel who all agreed that this initiative is improving the experience for patients across the whole trust. The judges felt that ‘it was a remarkable achievement’ to persuade the trust to implement training across the board. The regular quarterly audit is also a fantastic way of continually monitoring results, ensuring its success.”

Highly commended

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The King’s Vision for mental health

It is known that patients with visual impairment and chronic conditions have a higher rate of mental health issues. Patients are up to three times more likely to experience problems such as depression and/or anxiety than the general population and they experience poorer quality of life and social functioning. The prevalence of depression in patients attending low vision rehabilitation clinics is even higher at around 43% (Margrain et al 2016). The ultimate aim of the King’s Eye Clinic Liaison Officer, Adrian Iugo, was to improve quality of life for patients, reducing social isolation, using an outcome assessment tool.

The King’s Vision for mental health, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Adrian has collected patient-reported outcomes since March 2017, and holistically supports patients for problems associated with their emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

45 patients were screened from March—July 2017 for depression, anxiety, quality of life and smoking. 12 patients (26%) were identified with a mental health condition for the first time and were connected with mental health support; and of the five patients currently smoking, one accepted a referral to smoking cessation services and the others were provided with general advice and information about the effects of smoking on eyesight. Plans for the future include making the screening available to all patients attending an eye clinic outpatient appointment and a specific question for the symptoms of Charles Bonnet syndrome as there are plans to set up a patient support group.

Why this was chosen

“The concept of this initiative was a simple and fantastic idea that the judges ‘loved’. The submission was extremely well structured and highlighted a great patient initiative that fulfils a real unmet need. This is a hugely un-researched area in clinics and will make a large impact for patients.”


Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, NHS Lothian
Glaucoma Support Edinburgh – International Glaucoma Association Scotland

‘Glaucoma Support Edinburgh’ was formed by a group of patients to address several unmet needs as the NHS now believe patients should take responsibility for their own health, and a support group/forum where patients can build their knowledge is an aid to this goal. The initiative began by recruiting a small group of patients, representatives from the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) and glaucoma specialists from the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, to form a project steering committee.

Their aim was to establish a local patient-led support group for Scotland with its own identity, but affiliated to the IGA, with the aim of reaching out to patients and improve awareness of glaucoma in the community.

Glaucoma Support Edinburgh – International Glaucoma Association Scotland, Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, NHS Lothian

A website was developed to provide patients with information on meetings and events which is now used as a local awareness/information site. The culture of ‘patients supporting patients’ has led to growth in the number of patients engaging with and accessing the support provided. The group has relieved pressure on the NHS services where there is little extra funding for patient education.

Why this was chosen

“This entry showcased ‘excellent results’ and fulfils the unmet need that exists in some ophthalmology units. The judges found it interesting and demonstrated clear innovation by being patient led – overall it was a good use of patient support groups and patient ownership.”

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Best ophthalmology service improvement


Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Quality assurance of a multi-disciplinary team reviewing retinal virtual clinic assessments

Since 2010 the multi-disciplinary team at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has undertaken virtual clinic assessments for patients undergoing intravitreal treatments. Within virtual clinics the patient attends for electronic Medisoft/optical coherence tomography (OCT) data collection then leaves the clinic. Later their data is reviewed and their next appointment scheduled.

Quality assurance of a multi-disciplinary team reviewing retinal virtual clinic assessments, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

As the intravitreal service has grown, the team has welcomed hospital optometrists and nurse practitioners into the medical retina team, reviewing virtual clinic data. They developed a local training package guaranteeing the staff have the skills to perform these virtual assessments then created a quality assurance system, to continuously assess the work undertaken and provide feedback/training. The team has retained medical retina consultant governance of these clinics via secondary and tertiary grading of the data and a Quality Assurance email for queries on complex cases.

These innovations have allowed the team to safely assess/treat around 15,000 injections/assessments per year using a specifically trained multi-disciplinary team with medical retina consultant governance.

Why this was chosen

“This was an ‘absolutely superb and fantastic entry’ that highlighted the added value brought to patient care for the centre with ‘superb’ metrics. The whole panel felt that this initiative could be (and should be) replicated in other centres across the UK.”

Highly commended

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
Improving macular service patient experience through community based mobile services

The macular service provided by the Ophthalmology team at Frimley Park Hospital was identified as a service delivery area that required improvement in response to clinical and patient feedback and an increase in capacity. Advances in treatment have led to improved outcomes and coupled with an ageing population, there has been a marked increase in demand on services. The ophthalmology department at Frimley Park Hospital is a modern unit with up to date diagnostic and treatment facilities, however, growing demand increasingly led to overbooked appointments, waiting room delays and suboptimal patient satisfaction. The planned solution to the problems was the introduction of a community based mobile service. Clear aims and objectives were identified by the local team when designing and implementing the mobile unit. These were underpinned by the service delivery pressures experienced by the local team and reported by patients and their carers. A stakeholder group was set up to consider improvement ideas. Included within this group were a consultant lead, operational manager, nurse and healthcare assistants. The stakeholder consultation period, design and implementation took a total of 18 months.

Improving macular service patient experience through community based mobile services, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

In the months preceding this, the clinical team contributed their ideas to the unit design and spent time walking through the patient pathway to ensure a seamless service.

From the outset of the project, measures of success were integral to all aspects of mobile service delivery. The stakeholder project team developed a clear understanding of the healthcare challenge and was able to identify key outcome measures that would need to be assessed post implementation. Measures of success were collected 6, 12, 18 & 24 months post implementation. Eighteen months post implementation of the mobile unit, results showed:

  • mean appointment time was reduced from 81 minutes in the main hospital to 56 minutes in the mobile unit. Approximately half of patients experienced time savings of greater than 30 minutes by attending the mobile unit
  • evening clinics and weekend clinics at the main hospital were eliminated
  • more than 98% of patients rated their experience of the mobile unit as ‘excellent’ and more than 95% said it was more convenient than the main hospital
  • follow up time was maintained as per the Royal College of Ophthalmology guidelines for 99.8% of patients
  • among the patients surveyed, 100% said that they were likely to recommend the service to friends and family if they needed similar care.

Why this was chosen

“This was a well thought out and excellent measurable service improvement that involved good planning from a diverse stakeholder group. The judges were particularly impressed with the goal to eliminate all weekend and evening clinics, as well as the formal evaluation included. They also noted that it demonstrated an excellent delivery of care close to home.”

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Outstanding ophthalmology nurse or allied health professional
Winner – outstanding ophthalmology allied health professional

Rasmeet Chadha
Optometrist and Lead for Childhood Low Vision, Chair of Low Vision Group for Oxfordshire, Optometry Lead for Age Related Macular Degeneration
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Rasmeet is a senior Optometrist and Deputy Head of Optometry, and is engaged full time in providing optometry services at the Oxford Eye Hospital. She is an expert in low visual aids, leads on the childhood low visual aid service, chairs the paediatric low vision group for Oxfordshire, and is the key liaison between the eye service and the community, ensuring that children with severe visual impairment have access to all the help they require. In her clinical approach, Rasmeet is unfailingly courteous and empathetic.

Outstanding Ophthalmology Allied Health Professional: Rasmeet Chadha, Optometrist and Lead for Childhood Low Vision, Chair of Low Vision Group for Oxfordshire, Optometry Lead for Age Related Macular Degeneration, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Rasmeet has expertise in providing specific filters for glasses/sunglasses for people with inherited eye conditions as well as providing the ocular ultrasound service.

As optometry lead for AMD, Rasmeet ensures that her colleagues are supported, and represents their interests. Her role includes attending meetings, representing the Optometrists involved in the service, reviewing guidelines and liaison with her professional body, and troubleshooting.

Rasmeet is a lecturer on the medical student teaching programme and lecture course and has three key roles in the College of Optometrists. She is a teacher, trainer and mentor for Optometry students and teaches trainee Ophthalmologists.

Her colleagues describe Rasmeet as a really hard working, unassuming individual who has quietly achieved a huge amount. She is a courteous, considerate and always works professionally. She is a real asset to the Oxford Eye Hospital, and deserves this award for all the work that she does over and above her normal NHS role.

Why this was chosen

“This was an ‘impressive individual’ who is highly qualified, hardworking and ‘a great person to have in your department’. Rasmeet’s responsibilities encompass a broad role, and her commitment and determination has garnered high national engagement and local involvement.”

Winners' comments:

“It was a wonderful evening that will stay with me for a long time to come.”

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Winner – outstanding ophthalmology nurse

Adam Mapani
Medical Retina Nurse Consultant
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Adam has been working in the medical retinal service since 2003 and has been leading the medical retina nursing team at Moorfields Eye Hospital for 12 years. He has a vast amount of managerial experience and responsibilities including: staff recruitment, implementation of new clinical pathways, education planning and training, departmental budgeting, appraisals and risk management. He is at the forefront of developing practice in a wide range of clinical and organisational areas, and has led audits and research projects at Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London, where he also acts as an honorary lecturer.

Adam also has an international role as an educator. He has delivered keynote lectures and presented posters both nationally and internationally and is published in peer-reviewed journals. His evidence-based practice approach to patient care lays great emphases on maximising non-medical staff development within an ophthalmic setting.

Since his appointment as the lead Nurse in the Medical Retina Service there has been a major transformation in patient care, service efficiency and nurse-led clinics. Adam has built a strong rapport with patients and their families, and his passion for improved patient care has spread to the cohort of nurse practitioners that he has trained in the delivery of intravitreal injections.

Outstanding Ophthalmology Nurse: Adam Mapani, Medical Retina Nurse Consultant, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Adam leads by example and capitalises on every opportunity to continuously improve the service. He works collaboratively with the medical teams in driving service improvement initiatives forward to achieve excellence. He sees challenges as opportunities for innovation and has provided solutions to manage capacity and service demands. He pioneered the first nurse-led Diabetes Secondary Assessment and stable AMD services, creating both face to face and virtual pathways.

Adam is passionate about improving eye health services in developing nations. He is actively involved in charity work as evidenced in the recent trust bulletin for his recent visit to Kenya and Uganda where he has volunteered in teaching, training, screening and care delivery to the marginalised communities. He is currently involved in a project for vision screening in school children in Manicaland province, Zimbabwe and he is the chairman for Abalon Trust charity organisation.

Why this was chosen

“Adam has achieved a lot throughout his professional career, and stood out to the judging panel as a professional leader in nursing. The entry was well written and referenced lots of extra activities that go above and beyond the role of a nurse consultant, which impressed the judging panel.”

Highly commended

Carole Dallimore
Specialist Nurse
Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

Carole joined the eye clinic in 2005 and has been instrumental in developing the role of nurses in intravitreal injections, becoming the first nurse injector in the small town of Salisbury paving the way for others. She has assisted in educating her peers in other units. Alongside her clinical commitment, Carole manages the eye clinic and is involved in developing the new department build. She also co-ordinates outpatients and patient flow, monitoring skill mix for patient safety.

(From left to right) Kieran Loft, Specialist Optometrist, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Anna Sanders, Registered General Nurse, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Laura Grant, Head Orthoptist, Whipps Cross Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, Steve Dodds, Research Nurse, Sunderland Eye Infirmary, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Carole Dallimore, Specialist Nurse, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

Carole plays a pivotal role for the AMD service and has been instrumental in supporting the department needs. She is actively involved in training new junior doctors to participate in the Intravitreal treatment clinics. Her dedication and commitment makes a real difference. The numerous patient feedbacks received periodically speak volumes of her compassionate nature. Her mere presence brings a smile to patients’ faces and patients now request Carole administer their injections. She says that her reward is the patients’ happiness and that is all she wants and cares for.

Carole’s managerial responsibilities include recruitment and retention of staff to meet the needs of the patient, managing and coordinating staffing levels daily, ensuring effective use of resources, managing staff performance including annual appraisals and development plans and she is a key facilitator in clinical governance, risk management, health and safety, staff and patient complaints.

Despite her busy schedule and heavy commitments, Carole is always very accessible and approachable. She has a flare for problem solving and would do anything to ensure that the clinic flows smoothly. She encourages the nurses to work autonomously within their knowledge base and provides support when necessary.

The progress and growth that Carole has shown has been exemplary as are her work ethics. Colleagues do not remember if she ever said “no” for any extra work. From cleaning slit-lamps to doing intravitreal injections, from being a runner to running a busy Cataract Clinic, Carole is ever-ready to do anything and everything. Her flexibility and resilience, combined with her knowledge and skill, and her exceptional work sustains the service in Salisbury.

Why this was chosen

“This entry was written ‘from the heart’, and demonstrated Carole’s flexibility, knowledge and skill. Her role is varied and extended, and she clearly goes above and beyond to deliver the service with warmth and compassion.”

Highly commended

Steve Dodds
Research Nurse
Sunderland Eye Infirmary, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Steve has been an ophthalmology nurse for over 15 years, and took on the role of ophthalmology research nurse at Sunderland Eye Infirmary in 2010 as the trials unit was developing. Since then he has gone on to lead the nursing and administrative team.

Steve’s title is ‘research nurse’ but the role he fulfils would be classed as a senior trials coordinator or research manager in most similar sized trials units, as he is responsible for assessing feasibility of future trials, capacity building and trial set up, in association with the Comprehensive Local Research Network (CLRN) team. He acts as line manager for the team as well as fulfilling all the roles of a research nurse, including consent for observational studies, recruitment, data entry, site file management and hosting monitoring visits.

Steve has taken on the role of recruitment and consent for several studies and proactively finds patients who might be eligible, creating innovative recruitment strategies. He has led several initiatives to involve patients more in research, has been the CLRN Ophthalmology Patient and Public Involvement link since 2014 and initiated and maintains the ophthalmology pages on the Making Research Better website. He has organised patient research events and liaises with local eye charities, writing articles for newsletters.

Steve has now become a Principal Investigator (PI) in his own right for the FASBAT study. He acts as a research manager working with the Consultant PIs to develop capacity, balance budgets and assessing feasibility of studies. He has created a proforma to aid the feasibility process which also helps to predict staffing requirements across all aspects including IT, photography and optometric support.

The unit has developed into one of the largest ophthalmology clinical trials units in the UK with over 20 active trials currently in progress. This has been in no small part to Steve’s dedication, as navigating through the complexities of research governance requirements can be frustrating and put clinicians off from participating. He encourages local recruitment and liaises internally to ensure continuity of care and a personal point of contact. He has been hugely instrumental in the success of the unit and holds the unit together with his enthusiasm and positive attitude. Steve has made it easy for research to occur at Sunderland Eye Infirmary and for this reason is indispensable.

Why this was chosen

“This entry highlighted a very proactive and successful individual who is clearly dedicated to his role. Steve is clearly a key member of the unit and has contributed positively towards research.”

Highly commended

Laura Grant
Head Orthoptist
Whipps Cross Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust

Laura is currently Head of Optical services at Whipps Cross Hospital having worked her way up to Head Orthoptist. Her role far extends that of a Head Orthoptist as she also oversees the Optometry department and is an important part of the Ophthalmology team, dealing with general day to day running of the department, working closely with the service managers making sure the clinics all run smoothly, and overseeing all staff training, holiday, clinic allocation and finance.

As well as community clinics, Laura also has Neuro Ophthalmology and paediatric clinics. She has been involved with the training of Orthoptists, Optometrists and Doctors and is a supportive manager that looks for the best in everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, Laura will treat you equally and with the respect you deserve. Having a strong leader in the department that is willing to invest her time and energy in staff and patients is critical to the departments success and Laura ensures staff are able to stretch the service to new realms.

Laura has an amazing manner, managing to make patients young and old feel relaxed in her care. She will always go above and beyond what is necessary with her patients. She has developed important and strong relationships with special schools around the boroughs, ensuring that the youngest and most vulnerable in society get the vision care they deserve.

Laura takes on any roles necessary as they develop, whether that’s dealing with the Care Quality Commission or finding a well hidden form you need. She is the go to person for everything and the person that knows the answer to anything in the department and if she doesn’t, she knows where to find it. She will always find time to answer queries and never complains about her workload, despite always working far beyond her hours.

A colleague describes Laura as “absolutely amazing and a cornerstone of our department. I truly feel that this service would fall apart without her. The NHS is not just a news headline, Laura shows me this every day giving her patients the service they deserve without need for flamboyance.”

Why this was chosen

“This dedicated individual is the ‘cornerstone of the department’, who functions well and has a positive impact on a clearly stretched service. The entry demonstrates Laura’s caring and supportive attitude, and the judges were impressed with the comment highlighting that ‘she is the go to person for everything’.”

Highly commended

Kieran Loft
Specialist Optometrist
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

Following registration as an Optometrist in 2012, Kieran worked for a local firm of opticians, taking an active role in helping them establish a new branch, before being appointed a Specialist Optometrist at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Kieran is a Specialist Optometrist in paediatric refraction and medical retina. As lead clinic tutor he has written clinical guidance and a protocol for nurse-led logMAR refraction and vision assessment. He contributes to low vision, contact lens and dispensing clinics where he is responsible for clinical service review and publishing associated analyses and documents. Kieran has significantly contributed to designing and delivering training programmes and service development. He integrates effectively with multi-disciplinary teams in patient care and is an effective teacher.

Kieran’s strong focus on building a good rapport with patients, colleagues and hospital staff helps ensure good, well-integrated cohesive patient care and contributes to an effective and friendly working atmosphere. Through his interest in research and teaching he is always ready to support colleagues, especially those undergoing training.

Kieran’s mature and perceptive manner helps him establish a friendly professional rapport with patients. He elucidates patients’ problems well; can explain complex issues to them; and is effective in developing an investigation strategy and clinical management plan that is sensitive to patients’ wishes and appropriate to the presenting conditions. He receives warm and positive feed-back from patients and is committed to providing the highest standards of patient care.

Kieran is also a committed volunteer. As Lead Optometrist with Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) in Exeter, he worked closely with a GP surgery and the multi-disciplinary hub where VCHP is located to co-ordinate delivery of optical equipment, prepare a room for clinical testing and general ophthalmic services inspection. VCHP provides weekly optometric and dispensing clinics for homeless and vulnerable patients.

As Optometric Lead with the Plymouth-Bissary Aid Project, Kieran was the first project optometrist to visit the remote village of Bissary, The Gambia, where he carried out eye examinations, referred treatable pathology to the local hospital and dispensed donated spectacles.

Kieran’s attitude encourages a high quality of service, which he is keen to improve by identifying problems in clinical systems and gaps in collective clinical knowledge, then exploring ways to alleviate them through research initiatives. The respect with which he is held by colleagues and the respect and support he provides to them is notable. As is his enthusiasm for teaching and for continued professional development through research, learning and postgraduate study; and his clear commitment to the community through voluntary work in Devon and overseas.

Why this was chosen

“Kieran is clearly enthusiastic with lots of energy and dedication, and is a ‘stand-out, committed volunteer’. The judges all agreed that he should be commended for his continued work with the homeless and for his work as a project optometrist in Africa, alongside his day-to-day professional and personal commitments.”

Highly commended

Anna Sanders
Registered General Nurse
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Anna has practised in Ophthalmology for 35 years, completed the Nursing Conversion Course in 1999 qualifying as a Registered General Nurse and went on to complete the Ophthalmic Nursing Diploma at the University of Hull in 2002.

Anna’s interest and knowledge has helped pioneer new and innovative ways of practice. She has been proactive in implementing change to progress, always striving to deliver exceptional patient care and experience. Anna exudes care and compassion with vulnerable groups such as the homeless patients in the local community. During the run-up to Christmas, Anna is a great fund raiser, capturing and motivating the interests of all staff around her. She ensures that the ward is festively decorated and that every patient has a gift to open on Christmas morning, all in an effort to ensure patient comfort by going that extra mile. Anna is pivotal in reducing the length of patient stay following cataract surgery and she liaises with the Sensory Impairment Team, Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, Macular Society and Hull and East Riding Institute for the Blind to ensure patients are supported in the community.

Anna has an immense ability to handle emergencies with tact, sensitivity and professionalism. She competently works in stressful environments, volunteers her services, offering to work at short notice when staff shortages occur and is a great leader and team player with excellent communication skills. She delivers a high standard of care with warmth and compassion, has a positive outlook and commendable down-to-earth qualities. Her efficiency and efforts recognised by colleagues and patients.

Anna has been a committed, inspirational mentor to student nurses. Leading by example, she provides emotional, academic and practical support for the students throughout their placement experience. She creates a positive, memorable journey for the students, working closely with the university’s Practice Placement Facilitators. Often the students will state they would like to return to ophthalmology once qualified and this reflects Anna’s support and guidance.

Anna has completed 35 years of dedicated service to the profession and retires in 2017. She will be sorely missed by her colleagues, patients and their families. Although a huge loss to the profession and service, Anna will leave a legacy of great care, great examples and the prospect of a great future for nurses and our patients.

Why this was chosen

“This was an inspiring entry, and the whole team enjoyed reading about Anna. It was clear that she is committed, compassionate, fabulous and a real inspiration to others. The judges agreed that Anna was leaving behind a legacy. “I want to meet this person, she’s exactly who I would want nursing me!” one judge declared.”

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Ophthalmology unsung hero
Winner – individual

Marina Jones
Senior Medical Retina Secretary
Stanley Eye Unit, Abergele Hospital

Marina started in ophthalmology in 2002 as a support secretary, and, as the macular service at Abergele Hospital was setup she took on the role of AMD co-ordinator. She then became a full-time secretary in 2010 to one full-time and one part-time consultant in addition to the AMD co-ordinator role. The macular service has expanded significantly over the years and Marina has been promoted to the positions of Macular Service Co-ordinator and Senior Medical Retina Secretary and now supervises five other members of staff. She is the only full-time member of the macular administration team and ensures continuity throughout the week.

Marina Jones, Senior Medical Retina Secretary, Stanley Eye Unit, Abergele Hospital

Marina’s dedication to the service knows no bounds. She is innovative and looks at problems with a ‘can do’ approach and troubleshoots issues as they arise. Her conscientiousness in ensuring cases are followed up is a vital clinical safety net for the service that the clinicians know they can rely on. She demonstrates flexibility that is greatly valued in our evolving service. She steps up willingly to new challenges and into others shoes whenever needed.

The macular service would not function without Marina’s dedicated contribution. Her infectious positive influence on the rest of the team encourages them to achieve the highest standards. She recognises the strengths and weaknesses of the team members and adapts the workload appropriately.

Marina puts patient care first and is always helpful, polite and accommodating of patient’s requests. She explains to patients what to expect and answers any questions they have. It gives us great confidence to know that she is the public face of the macular service. Marina is the unsung hero of our service without doubt.

Why this was chosen

“This entry scored highly across the board, and highlighted a clearly valued person who is a well recognised and worthy unsung hero. Marina has a large responsibility and is someone who goes above and beyond what is expected to ensure the work is done. The judges felt she was exceptional, and were particularly impressed with the comment: “The macular service would not function without her contribution”, highlighting that she is absolutely the key to the success of the service.”

Winners' comments:

“I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated and win the individual unsung hero award. I am honoured to have shared the night with so many excellent providers of ophthalmological support including Nursing Staff, Optometrists, ECLO, Patient support and many teams made up of a mixture of all clinical expertise and administrative support. Ophthalmology is not a ‘sexy’ clinical area but affects so many people in so many different ways. Its impact on day-to-day living can be extreme, stripping patients of their confidence and so the people who work within this area often find that they give emotional support as well as practical medical advice. In order for these services to be valued by the wider community (and attract funding), it is important that the excellent services provided in all areas is acknowledged and published.”

Winner – team

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Ophthalmology Administrator Co-ordinator team

Within NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde the ophthalmology service delivers patient care on eight hospital sites. An established team of macula co-ordinators is in operation and more recently the co-ordinator role has been expanded to the wider service. The co-ordinators are fundamental to the patient’s journey and ensure maximum utilisation of availability, facilitating additional capacity where necessary. They are central to the co-ordination of care delivery for patients, communicating effectively with clinicians, health records colleagues and the management team. Despite working with competing demands and capacity limitations, the co-ordinators have ownership of a well-established and structured process. They are responsible for taking autonomous decisions for the organisation of patient care, unpredicted workload, managing situations of conflict and patient expectations. They perform mentally challenging tasks despite frequent interruptions and all of this with a positive and enthusiastic attitude. Daily communication is vital and achieved via personal contact, telephones and email. Team meetings, including multi-disciplinary team members, take place within a regular structure as a forum for reflection of service needs and proactive management of demand. Service development is initiated through this forum encouraging ideas and participation from all in attendance.

Ophthalmology Administration Co-ordinator Team, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Why this was chosen

“This entry communicates the passion from each individual within the team, and clearly demonstrates the value of the whole team of individuals. The judges commended the value of the work being done by the clinical co-ordinators, particularly in relation to the improvements being made to the patient journey, as well as the efforts being made to educate the admin support teams on different eye health diseases. Although this entry details a team of individuals, the role of the clinical co-ordinator is very important, although often unrecognised, and thus the judges felt this entry should be recognised within the Unsung Hero category as the entry clearly demonstrates a ‘well valued team of unsung heroes with clear communications’.”

Winning team:

“We were delighted to be invited to the Awards Ceremony. It was a great event, it was well organised with a friendly atmosphere. It was made even more special for us as we were winners! We entered because we are passionate about the administration roles within the NHS and wanted to see recognition for all the hard work, commitment and compassion that the wider Ophthalmology admininstrative employees provide. It was a real morale boost not only for the shortlisted team but for all of our Service. We hope to build on this recognition and achievement, and maybe even enter the Ophthalmology Honours again next year!”

Judges’ special award


Sunderland Eye Infirmary, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
High quality clinical research using a collaborative team approach

Sunderland Eye Infirmary (SEI) is a dedicated eye hospital and part of City Hospitals Sunderland (CHS) NHS Trust that provides eye service to a population of approximately 800,000 from Sunderland and surrounding areas. Over the last 8 years, the research team has faced several challenges towards expansion of clinical research.

Ophthalmology Administration Co-ordinator Team, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

The team’s vision was to make Sunderland Eye Infirmary a place for excellence in delivering high quality clinical research and embedding this as an integral part of routine clinical care as per NHS constitution.

To achieve this, collaboration and partnership between stakeholders including North East & North Cumbria clinical research network, Trust R&D, staff (including specialist trainees), community optometrists and patients was essential. Sunderland Eye Infirmary is nationally recognised as a centre for research excellence and results include:

  • 10 out of 20 SEI clinicians participating as Principal Investigator (PI) in over 30 global & national commercial & non-commercial clinical trials on National Institute for Health Research portfolio; Chief Investigator for >5 studies over the last 5 years
  • ophthalmology contributing to 14.44% (27 of 187 studies) of all CHS recruitment
  • Sunderland Eye Infirmary contributed to 54.49% of all specialty recruitment in 2016/17 - the highest recruiters for ophthalmology in the North East of England
  • a progressive increase in the number of closed studies from 8 in 2012/13, 9 in 2013/14 and 15 in 2014/15 (~1000 patients over last 5 years in ~30 studies). SEI achieved 100% recruitment to time and target for all studies conducted between 2012—16. Sunderland Eye Infirmary recruited 348 patients among open studies and 189 among closed studies for 2015/16.

Why this was chosen

“The judges felt that this entry didn’t quite fit any of the award categories, but wanted to recognise the superb initiative. They were very impressed with the number of staff and clinical studies highlighted in this entry. They felt it important to recognise the research element of this entry, and the service improvement that has been achieved as a result of this.”

Winning team:

“It’s great to see the hard work and dedication from ophthalmology teams across the UK in meeting these challenges recognised and rewarded, as well as ideas exchanged and best practice shared. The evening was both great fun and inspiring and I would encourage other units to put themselves forward for next year.”

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