Diagnostic tests and investigations are essential for the diagnosis and management of ophthalmic disease and virtually every patient who attends an eye clinic will have some form of diagnostic testing. Staff who perform these investigations are important members of the multidisciplinary team and should be appropriately trained to a consistent standard and have the opportunity to progress in their careers.
To achieve these goals AHPO worked with Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC), a UK-wide government initiative that developed an education and training strategy and career pathway for the whole healthcare science workforce in the NHS and associated bodies. The healthcare science workforce consists of some 51 different specialisms. All involve the application of science, technology, engineering or mathematics to health. There are four broad divisions:
- life (biological/laboratory) sciences
- physical science and engineering
- physiological science
- bioinformatics (genomics)
Ophthalmic and Vision Science is one of the disciplines within Physiological Sciences.
The Healthcare Science Career Framework has career levels from assistant at Level 2 to consultant clinical scientist at level 9, as shown in the table. The training and qualifications currently available for Ophthalmic and Vision Science (OVS) staff are highlighted in purple.
The National School of Healthcare Science is seeking recognition for apprenticeship standards at levels 3 and 5. If successful the AHPO Level 5 Diploma in Ophthalmic and Vision Science could become a Level 5 BTEC Diploma and Apprenticeship.
Universities are offering level 6 degree apprenticeships for Healthcare Science Practitioners in other disciplines in Healthcare Science. If there is sufficient demand these may be offered for Ophthalmic and Vision Science.
As stated in the table it is possible to become a registered Healthcare Science Practitioner through an equivalence route. If you have the BTEC Level 4 Diploma and AHPO Level 5 Diploma you would only need to demonstrate equivalence at Level 6.