The anaesthetist is a medically qualified doctor specializing in the prevention of pain.
Basic scientists perform laboratory research, in fields such as molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, and pathology.
Buddies help patients in many ways. They shop for essentials like milk and bread on the patient’s way home and then settle the patient in their home. Buddies also bring nervous patients to hospital and keep them company. This is an important service for patients who have no family and feel vulnerable. Buddies will also collect pensions or personal items from a patient’s home if they have no family at hand. They will also escort in-patients who wish to visit their home, go to the bank, visit their pets in kennels etc. and will generally be there for moral support. To patients who have no relatives or friends close by, this can make a huge difference to their recovery and confidence.
A team of administrators run the unit, performing the following tasks:
- Communicating with the Department of Health regarding all administrative aspects of the centre
- Liaising with the ocular oncologist on all financial matters related to the development of the oncology centre
- Organizing the purchase of equipment; Organizing systems for accommodating patients and relatives, providing interpreters, and handling private fees
- Running inpatient and outpatient services at St Paul’s Eye Unit
The ocular oncology clerk has the following duties:
- Reception duties in outpatient clinics
- Preparing casenotes
- Obtaining the fax numbers of referring ophthalmologists and general practitioners
- Retrieving and archiving casenotes and photographs for outpatient clinics, audits and research projects
- Booking and cancelling clinic appointments;
- Digitising casenotes on computer when patients are discharged from our service
The clinical director is responsible for the running of St Paul’s Eye Unit. He or she is normally appointed from the consultant team for a period of three years.
Clerical Research Officer
The clerical research officer ensures that we in the oncology service all comply with:
- The patients’ wishes and preferences, particularly with regards to consent for the use of data, images and tissues for research, teaching and audit. Permission is also obtained for quality of life questionnaires and newsletters
- All conditions imposed by organizations such as the Liverpool Research Ethics Committee, the Trust’s Research and Development department, and the Medical Healthcare Regulatory Authority. We also follow the research guidelines issued by the International Conference of Harmonisation for Good Clinical Practice
Consultant Ocular Oncologist
The consultant ocular oncologist is an ophthalmologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular tumours. We now have two consultant ocular oncologists, one working full- time in ocular oncology and the other working also in medical and surgical retina.
The cytogeneticist examines tumour tissue to identify genetic abnormalities arising in the tumour. These studies indicate whether or not a melanoma is likely to behave aggressively.
The data manager ensures that our ocular oncology database is complete, correct and up- to-date. The duties of the data manager include:
- Checking the notes every time a patient is seen, to ensure that there are no errors in the database
- Computerising data returned by referring ophthalmologists and in questionnaires
- Computerising information received from the National Cancer Registry
- Retrieving the NHS number of each new patient from the general practitioner or the referring health authority
- Performing various studies, such as the quarterly review of activity
- Providing assistance when our usual oncology secretary is absent Health Psychologist
The Health Psychologist
We are fortunate in having a full-time health psychologist, who:
- Identifies any psychological problems in patients and accompanying persons
- Organizes any psychological support, if requested by the patient, liaising with the family doctor or with other practitioners, as required
- Conducts quality of life studies and research into patients’ psychological needs
- Provides psychological support by means of printed leaflets and the ocular oncology website
- Advises the ocular oncology staff on psychological aspects of patient care
In the UK, chartered health psychologists obtain an undergraduate psychology degree followed by a postgraduate qualification in health psychology. They then practise health psychology under supervision for at least two years.
The medical ethicist has qualifications in Health Care Ethics and helps to resolve any dilemmas relating to treatment or research. For example, he provides advice on new treatments and investigations to ensure that any novel care provided is always in the best interest of the patient.
The medical oncologist is a doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer by chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Medical Retina Consultant
The medical retina consultant specializes in the treatment of retinal disorders such as vascular tumours (i.e., blood vessel tumours) and retinal oedema (i.e., fluid in retina). This is using lasers and intraocular injections of steroids and other agents.
The primary route to obtaining a nursing qualification in England is the Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing. This is of three years duration.
Graduates holding a health-related degree can follow an accelerated diploma programme.
Nurses wishing to work in ophthalmology need to complete a course in ophthalmic nursing, which is a part-time, modular course lasting 42 weeks.
Ophthalmic nurses can also obtain a specialist ophthalmic practitioner qualification or study for a degree in the relevant specialist practice.
Ocular Oncology Fellow
The ocular oncology fellow is an ophthalmologist who is already trained in general ophthalmology and who is obtaining specialized experience in ocular oncology.
Ocular Oncology Secretary
The ocular oncology secretary is responsible for all administrative matters related to our centre. The duties involve:
- Handling all correspondence
- Typing and filing all letters
- Organising clinics and admissions
- Arranging accommodation for patients and relatives
- Organising an interpreter, if required for an overseas patient
- Preparing operating theatre lists
- Organizing fax and telephone communications between our centre and radiotherapists at the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology
The pathologist is a doctor specializing in pathology, which is the study of disease. This involves:
- Measuring and describing all specimens, both macroscopically (i.e., using the naked eye) and with a microscope providing a diagnosis
- Reporting any tumour characteristics of prognostic value
- Preparing a dictated report, for filing in the case notes, a copy of which is routinely sent to the referring ophthalmologist
- Archiving tumours and any tissues that have been removed, in case any analysis is required and for research. This is done in accordance with Ethical Committee guidelines
- Completing a proforma, for computerization of relevant data
- Participating in teaching and research
Ophthalmic photographers specialise in taking colour photographs and angiograms of the eye, special equipment.
The radiologist is a doctor specializing in body imaging, that is, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, and computerized tomography.
The radiotherapist is a doctor specializing in radiotherapy, which is the treatment of tumours with radiation.
The duties of surgical trainees involve:
- Examining patients on admission to hospital and preparing patients for surgery
- Organising any relevant tests and retrieving the results
- Assisting at theatre and in the clinics Contributing to patient care in the ward
At the end of their training, surgical trainees need to pass an exit examination to be able to compete for a post as consultant ophthalmologist. Trainees rotate through all sub-specialties in ophthalmology, including ocular oncology, spending between three and six months in each firm.
Specialist Ocular Oncology Nurse
The specialist ocular oncology nurse is an ophthalmic nurse who dedicates the whole of his/her time to the care of patients with ocular tumours. The duties involve:
- Counselling patients in the clinic and the ward
- Providing a telephone help-line
- Assisting with patient satisfaction studies and other projects
- Assisting the consultant at clinics and in the operating theatre
- Running some outpatient clinics
The specialist ocular oncology nurse is designated as your ‘Key Worker’, which means that they are responsible for dealing with any problems that you might have.
The vitreoretinal surgeon is a consultant ophthalmologist who specialises in the surgical treatment of retinal disorders.