SpaMedica’s surgery training services, which are open to NHS staff as well as the company’s own employees, have recently been extended with the launch of two new ‘pop up’ dry labs, ensuring that trainees up and down the country have access to facilities to develop ‘confidence and capability in cataract surgery’.
The ‘pop up’ labs in Birmingham and Poole join SpaMedica’s existing facilities – which include four regional training suites, each featuring a digital dry lab equipped with the latest world-class technology – alongside a range of CPD resources, helping UK ophthalmologists boost their expertise and knowledge.
Richard Woodward, SpaMedica’s Chief Executive Officer, says: “As the largest NHS cataract surgery provider in the UK, we’re incredibly proud to share our resources and proficiency to support future ophthalmologists.
“We’re driven by helping patients achieve good visual outcomes – resulting in low complication rates and positive feedback – and we’re passionate about supporting trainees in their career development. The latest additions to our training portfolio have widened our provision even further.”
SpaMedica’s first regional training suite opened in September 2020 in Widnes. Similar facilities launched in Wokingham, Stockton and Wolverhampton in 2021 – all delivering training in digital dry labs using the latest ophthalmic technology, with the aim of providing ‘confidence and capability in surgery’ for ST1 to ST7 doctors.
Two of the hospitals with training suites – SpaMedica Widnes and SpaMedica Stockton – have been graded as ‘Outstanding’ by industry regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC), with inspectors praising the hospitals’ dry lab facilities in their reports.
The training suites benefit other nearby hospitals too. For example, surgeons at SpaMedica Preston – which also received an ‘Outstanding’ rating in August 2022 – are able to make use of the training suite at SpaMedica Widnes, with CQC inspectors noting the facility is currently the only one of its kind in the Northwest.
The training suites use synthetic model eyes that replicate the feel, texture and characteristics of a human eye with cataracts, along with surgical microscopes, all the instruments used in surgery and phacoemulsification machines.
The dry lab experience enables trainees to develop microsurgical motor skills, hand-eye coordination and microscope controls, and to practice all aspects of cataract surgery.
All individual surgical training is recorded on iPads, and these recordings can be saved and reviewed with other doctors and mentors, as well as logged onto training records.
In addition to the four regional suites, two smaller ‘pop-up’ dry labs opened in September 2022 in Birmingham and Poole, offering access to training for those in the Midlands and the South.
Dr Alex Silvester, SpaMedica’s Medical Director, says: “Practising cataract surgery techniques in a simulated, but very realistic theatre environment, supports junior doctors in developing the surgical skills they need, assisting them in becoming safer and more productive in the operating theatre. We’re proud to be able to offer this training to doctors across the UK, in addition to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ training programme.”
SpaMedica also shares ophthalmic knowledge and expertise through its CPD events. It launched its Study programme in 2014, which includes hosting regular CPD webinars and live sessions, with experienced consultant ophthalmologists delivering educational programmes.
The next event is taking place on Wednesday 9th November 2022 from 6pm at four regional locations (Birmingham, Liverpool, Exeter and Chelmsford), entitled ‘Beyond Accreditation’. Attendees will receive three CPD points.
SpaMedica currently has over 4,500 community optometrists registered on its Accredited Partner Programme, which offers patients the opportunity to have their cataract post-operative assessment at their referring optician’s practice. Accreditation scheme sessions are held regularly at SpaMedica hospitals; partners achieve two CPD points. More information on the programme and post-op accreditation events is available on the SpaMedica website.
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