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09 February 2009
Optometrists and other eye-care professionals will have access to dedicated, high quality postgraduate education for the first time as a result of a new Centre at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences.
The new Postgraduate Education Centre for Optometry, based in the £21m state-of-the-art building, will deliver a more co-ordinated approach to the education needs of the optometric community and industry.
In utilising the existing facilities the Centre will offer a flexible rolling programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to qualified professionals, and ongoing educational support, within the research-led environment.
The next five years will see the Centre develop and deliver a portfolio of learning opportunities for optometrists and allied professionals including short courses, Diplomas, a modular MSc and further CPD to support Welsh Assembly Government initiatives. The centre will also facilitate an expansion of Primary Care research, utilising external expertise as necessary.
Professor Tim Wess, Head of School said: "This is the first time practising eye-care professionals across Wales, the UK and further afield will have a dedicated centre for postgraduate optometry whose focus is solely on providing high-quality education.
"In an evolving context of healthcare, the optometric practitioner is becoming more empowered as the first point of call for primary healthcare delivery. This role requires enhanced education and training and we are excited that the University is able lead the way in providing the most up-to-date research-led training for the profession."
Recent years have seen optometrists expanding the services they offer in the community, reducing the need for hospital visits and burden on the NHS. The Centre will enable the University to offer more structured learning to support this move in Wales and elsewhere in the UK and respond to the ever increasing demands for courses from professionals, healthcare commissioners and companies.
Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant, said: "A Post Graduate Centre for Optometry will fill an obvious gap in the provision of healthcare teaching and will ensure the University has a full suite of postgraduate centres for healthcare professionals."
Mr Richard N. Roberts, Consultant Optometric Adviser to the Welsh Assembly Government said: "Since 2002 the Welsh Assembly Government has funded the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences to deliver a program of training, accreditation and re-accreditation to 430 optometrists across Wales for the Welsh Eye Care Initiative (WECI). The success of this is evidenced by the enhanced services offered by optometrists in Wales including the Primary Eye Acute Referral Scheme (PEARS), The Welsh Eye Health Examination (WEHE) and the Welsh Low Vision Service (WLVS). I am pleased to see the establishment of the Centre through to fruition."
Optometrists Nik Sheen and Barbara Ryan, based at the School have played a leading role in the program of education for the Welsh Eye Care Initiative, and will be heading-up the dedicated Centre.
The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences recently hosted a visit by the UK’s Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham MP who visited the School to see the world-leading research being undertaken at Cardiff.
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