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The purpose of this study was to conduct a follow-up survey of orthoptic practice in the UK and Ireland during the summer 2020 interim recovery phase of the pandemic. This was a prospective cross-sectional survey from July 1 2020 to September 30 to all 175 Trusts / health boards in UK and Ireland and circulated through the BIOS professional society. One hundred and forty-nine responded (85% response rate). The survey reported practice relating to patient consultation during the pandemic, alterations to appointments, use of equipment, guidance and training for staff, staff uniforms, department changes, staff support, redeployment, appointment backlog, return of services, working hours, recovery planning, altered practice for future services and what did not work during the pandemic. Concerns persisted with regard to reliability of remote testing. Orthoptists reported teleconsultation would continue long-term but in specific follow-up services and could not replace in-person assessment for diagnostic accuracy and monitoring active treatment. There was a substantial increase in waiting times and lists and reduced clinical capacity. There was considerable impact to staff physical and mental health.

Orthoptic service survey in the UK and Ireland during the interim recovery period (summer 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rowe FJ, Hepworth LR, Howard C.
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Fiona Rowe (Prof)

Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, UK.

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