The UKOA is a membership group of UK ophthalmology providers and stakeholders set up in 2017. It is inspired by the National Orthopaedic Alliance (NOA) vanguard and is rapidly replicating and expanding the scope of specialty alliance methodology. Its key benefit is national standardisation to deliver best practice in clinical outcomes, patient co-developed standards and cost efficiency.
The Alliance was established with a number of key founder members to ensure it was manageable in the establishment phase. We used the experience and knowledge of large ophthalmology units and the GIRFT clinical ophthalmology leads to identify appropriate founder members.
UKOA is supported by key stakeholders such as the professional Colleges’ and large eye care charities which provide feedback and recommendations for the Alliance.
A key aspect of the model to replicate is that the structure, direction and activities of the Alliance are determined by the wishes of the members. Ophthalmology has a dedicated Royal College whereas orthopaedics does not, and there are important differences in the specialty and the way it is practiced which means the UKOA differs from the NOA.
The Alliance covers the whole of the UK, with the aim of being inclusive of different size and types of unit. Its founder members are a group of the largest ophthalmic providers with a reputation for quality and a good geographical spread, as well as a group of district general hospital ophthalmic providers known for their quality and engagement. By being inclusive, we hope that the Alliance can provide a whole sector voice for the profession and the greatest chance for patient centred improvement.