What does IP stand for?
IP stands for independent prescribing. It is a qualification that allows an optometrist to, after establishing a diagnosis, determine the clinical management required and prescribe medication where necessary. IP optometrists can write an NHS prescription, where appropriate, for any medication in relation to the eye.
What was involved in passing the course?
The diploma had three components: a year’s distance learning course at university, a clinical placement in a hospital and a Final Assessment in London through The College of Optometrists. Overall it took about 2 years to complete.
What benefit does being IP qualified offer our patients?
There are many benefits. In many cases I can avoid unnecessary waiting times for a GP or hospital appointment. Another benefit is I can also manage patients in practice, who may have previously been required to be treated and reviewed at the hospital.
Why should an optometrist be the first port of call for an eye problem?
We have more appointment availability than a GP, so you are likely to be seen quicker. We also have more in-depth eye knowledge (we spent 4 years at university just studying eyes!) and also have better equipment to examine your eyes. Lastly, we have access to many medications now and could write a prescription to be taken to your local pharmacy, so you don’t need to go via your GP for treatment.
What are you going to do next?
No plans at the moment, as I am enjoying a break from studying! However, as someone who always wants to learn more, I’m sure I’ll be working on a new project in the near future.