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Independent Prescribing for Optometrists

independent prescribing - CPD


  Key facts:

  • 40 masters level credits 
  • Distance learning
  • Professional Accreditation course

This course is for you if you are a clinician in the field of Optometry and are looking to develop your role by becoming an Optometrist Independent Prescriber. Following successful completion of this course you will be prepared to take the Therapeutics Common Final Assessment, set by the College of Optometrists.

  • Credit value: 40 masters level credits 
  • Mode of delivery: Distance Learning   
  • Course type: Professional Accreditation Course
  • Start date: March and October
  • Number of places available: Varies
  • Duration: Two periods of 4 months each
  • Time commitment: Although this will depend upon the individual, a typical student can expect to spend around 10 hours a week throughout the duration of the course, equivalent to 400 hours of study in total. The Clinical Placement section requires a minimum of 12 days in placement (24 sessions of not less than 3 hours.)
  • Entry requirement: At present the Independent Prescriber course is open to GOC registered applicants who:
    • Have been registered for at least 2 years before commencing their clinical placement.
    • Have up-to-date knowledge and experience in their intended area of practice. This could be relevant experience obtained in the hospital eye service, at a specialist eyecare practice or in a shared care scheme. After completing the theoretical training, optometrists are required to undertake a clinical placement under the supervision of an ophthalmologist and pass a final examination set by the College of Optometrists.
    • The clinical placement is the candidate’s responsibility to organise. In line with GOC requirements, all applicants must provide an individual letter of support (usually from an ophthalmologist) regarding the placement for acceptance on to Aston’s Independent Prescribing course.

How to apply

  • As part of the application process, you will be required to send in certified copies of your ID and Degree certificate. The clinical placement is the candidate’s responsibility to organise. In line with GOC requirements, all applicants must provide an individual letter of support (usually from an ophthalmologist) regarding the placement for acceptance on to Aston’s Independent Prescribing course.
  • Applications are currently open for our next intakes (March 2018 and October 2018). The deadline is approximately 1 month before the start of the course

Apply now for March
Apply now for October
  • Fees for 2018 entry: £2200
  • The costs for the clinical placement, which is to be arranged by each trainee, can vary, depending on the fees, if any, imposed by the respective HES. 
  • There is also an examination fee for the Common Final Assessment, charged by the College of Optometrists.

 

Recent legislation has extended independent prescribing rights to optometrists, subject to the satisfactory completion of a General Optical Council (GOC) accredited training course. The restriction to the range of medicines that can be used and conditions that can be treated for IP optometrists is by reference to their competence:

‘Optometrist Independent Prescribers should be able to prescribe any licensed medicine for ocular conditions, affecting the eye and adnexa, within the recognised area of expertise and competence of the optometrist.’

The likely areas, in which optometrists are expected to work as Independent Prescribers, are Primary Eye Care and / or Glaucoma.

This course consists of 3 elements, taken consecutively:

  • Module 1: Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. This module covers topics including ocular immunology, pharmacology and ocular therapeutic drugs, frameworks of prescribing, prescribing safely and professionally. (This module can be taken independently as part of the Optometry Flexible Credit Accumulation framework award.)
  • Module 2: Prescribing for disorders of the eye’ and covers topics including evidence based practice and glaucoma in relation to independent prescribing. Upon successful completion of the second module’s exam, optometrists will be required to undertake a clinical skills practical assessment at Aston University. The practical element will involve demonstration of slit lamp skills, contact tonometry and slit lamp binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy along with some objective structured clinical exam type questions. (This module can be taken independently as part of the Optometry Flexible Credit Accumulation framework award.)
  • Learning in practice: After successful completion of the two theory based modules and a practical assessment, optometrists are required to undertake practical training in the form of a clinical placement. The aim of this component of the training is to develop competency in the practice of prescribing and to facilitate the integration of prescribing theory and practice with the conditions that the trainee will subsequently manage. This training will typically take place in the Hospital Eye Service under the supervision of a designated ‘mentor’ ophthalmologist. It is the responsibility of the trainee to arrange the clinical practice placement. To achieve Independent Prescriber status you must gain at least 12 days of clinical training (for those who are already registered as Additional Supply or Supplementary Prescribers, the placement period required is 7 days). 

Following successful completion of all three elements, you will be prepared to take the Therapeutics Common Final Assessment, set by the College of Optometrists. Further information about the exam and therapeutic prescribing can be found on the College of Optometrist’s website.

This course is delivered via distance learning. You will access learning materials for general study, revision and assessment via our virtual learning environment, Blackboard. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more. Most topics are delivered by Powerpoint lectures with speech. Other lectures are delivered in a text-based format.

Following completion of the two theoretical modules, trainees undertake a period of practice-based training. It is the responsibility of the trainee to arrange the clinical practice placement.

Assessment is by coursework submitted throughout the course.

Following successful completion of all three elements, you will be prepared to take the Therapeutics Common Final Assessment (candidates must organise this independently).

Our courses offer you the opportunity to enhance your knowledge and skills in order to develop your career. In addition, our ethos is to equip you to make a real difference in your field.

Following successful completion of all three elements, you will be prepared to take the Therapeutics Common Final Assessment (candidates must organise this independently).

Our courses are written and delivered by staff at the forefront of Life and Health Sciences teaching and research. Many members of staff practise / have practised professionally. In the recent Teaching Excellence Framework assessment, Aston University was awarded Gold, the highest award possible. In addition, our courses are regularly reviewed by relevant professional experts.

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