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Ophthalmic and Vision Science Scientific Training Programme (OVS STP)

Four clinical scientist training posts available in Ophthalmic and Vision Science (OVS). These are fully funded in the UK's National Health Service. Successful candidates will achieve Clinical Scientist status. 

Ophthalmic and vision science (OVS) is fascinating and varied. The eye is a window to the brain and body. Through the pupil, at the front of the eye, we can see the optic nerve and blood vessels entering the eye. The eye can tell us about a patient’s general health as well as their vision. Many lifestyle choices are closely linked with blinding eye conditions. For example, dietary control with diabetic retinopathy and smoking with age related macular degeneration. Other conditions are genetically determined, e.g. retinal disease, glaucoma and cataract.


Visual loss at any age is devastating for patients and their families. Support for a patient with visual impairment is holistic and provided by agencies in the community, e.g. the Royal National Institute for the Blind, who help to prevent social isolation. There are also mobility and communication aids. These are improved by new ways of using technologies. 

OVS healthcare scientists work with other eye care professions. Most of these begin with an ‘O’! – that is, orthoptists, ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians. There is overlap in their scope of practice, but each is specialist in a particular aspect of OVS. Together we provide diagnoses and monitor disease and treatment. OVS healthcare scientists work in different hospital settings; for example taking images of the structure of a patient’s eyes with micron resolution, or performing functional measurements of how well the visual pathway works using visual electrophysiology. This clinical work benefits patients directly. It also helps to translate new treatments into clinical trials by monitoring safety and efficacy.
As an OVS STP, you will work with colleagues across a wide range of clinical and scientific disciplines to provide clinical eye services. You will meet patients of all ages and abilities. You will learn to assess the function of the visual pathway and to image its structure. You will learn about genetics, optics and lots more. You will have great opportunities to engage with translational research and contribute to clinical audit and research projects.

For real life examples of the varied career paths in OVSSTP healthcare science, two excellent OVS healthcare scientists tell us here how their careers took shape and how they are still developing. Their paths show the breadth of OVS practice and the leadership and responsibility taken for patient health and clinical research. 

Further details about the training and placements can be found here


Visual Electrophysiology Course

To access this course, and others, you need to register with e-Learning for Health. You will need a valid NHS email address to fully access the course – any address ending in nhs.uk or nhs.net should work.

Visit this page: http://portal.e-lfh.org.uk/ and click Register. You will need to enter your name, country and region, staff group, e.g. Clinical Scientist, grade and primary speciality, e.g. ophthalmology. Then you need to enter your start date; if you have been in post for more than a few months, it will be easier to click the text box and then click on the “X” that appears and manually enter the date rather than use the calendar. The format is e.g. DD Mmm YYYY. Then select your work address by entering the postcode. Selecting your workplace can be confusing as there may be several entries for the one address, each subtly different depending on which NHS services are based at the site. Then click “Register”.

Once you have logged on, select “View Full Catalogue” to see all the courses that are available to you. There are lots. Find and select “Ophthalmology (Eye Site)”, then select “Eye-Site 12 – Neurophysiology”. The available sessions will be listed. Select the “12_01 Introduction to Visual Electrophysiology” session, or whichever one you wish to start with.

Make sure that you understand the material and have correctly answered all the questions before you close a session.



Healthcare Science Training Programme

Process in obtaining a HCS trainee post in London - 2018


Stakeholders: Department of Health (DH) Health Education England West Midlands (HEE WM) Health Education England North Central and East London (HEE NCEL) National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) Your organisations / NHS Trusts HEE WM is the National Lead commissioner for HCS HEE NCEL is the London Lead commissioner for HCS NSHCS support the implementation and delivery of HCS programmes and safeguard the delivery of quality education and training for healthcare science nationally.

The funding for HCS training posts travels from DH to WM. Then from HEE WM to HEE NCEL. HEE NCEL then provide the funding for training posts to NHS organisations via the Learning and Development Agreement (LDA). The Learning and Development Agreement (LDA) document lists all education, training and learning activity commissioned by Health Education England from the Multi-professional Education and Training Levy (MPET) funding. It is usually the Education Lead (or equivalent title) of your organisation that will be the lead on the LDA.
Please note that HEE have no control over the DH funding timelines and as such you will be notified about the outcome of your application when HEE have been informed of the annual education and training budget allocation.

Steps in the process: 1. HEE NCEL seek capacity for training posts in London by requesting that organisations complete an expression of interest form Direct entry applicants: a trainee will be allocated to your department from a national pool of candidates In-service applicants: a staff member who already has a substantive post within your department and is interested in joining a healthcare science education programme.

2. DH determine the funding allocation for HCS programmes nationally

3. HEE WM assess national demand and allocate funding to local offices based on workforce need and national workforce priorities

4. HEE NCEL, on behalf of London, receive the funding position from WM and assess applications submitted during the capacity assessment in step one

5. Training posts are allocated to organisations based on criteria for application as listed on the expression of interest forms, by enlisting expert panel knowledge

6. Organisations receive confirmation letter(s) regarding new training posts from HEE NCEL (This letter should be sufficient for organisations’ HR process when you commence with trainee recruitment)

7. NSHCS advertise trainee posts based on the location / organisation and type of post (in-service/direct entry)

8. Prospective trainees (in-service and direct entry) make online applications to the NSHCS

9. NSHCS recruit trainees to the posts that have been allocated within organisations

10. HEE NCEL receive confirmation of trainee names from NSHCS

11. HEE NCEL validate trainee names (existing and new starters) and finance schedules with respective organisations

12. New trainees are confirmed into post and information is passed onto HEE NCEL for validation.


NHS Scientist Training Programme: Helpbook for Training Centres

NHS Scientist Training Programme: Principles for In-Service MSC Training Routes 2017

About the association

BriSCEV is the British chapter of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision (ISCEV). Course and conferences are held annually.


For queries about membership or registration please email the treasurer: o.marmoy@nhs.net

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