29 May 2014
Media release by Singapore National Eye Centre
For immediate release

Singapore National Eye Centre is proud to announce that it is now accredited by the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel for Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO). It is the first institution in Singapore and South-east Asia to receive the recognition at the World Ophthalmology Congress in Tokyo recently (according to the IJCAHPO).

IJCAHPO is based in St Paul, Minnesota, USA, and provides international accreditation by setting academic standards for ophthalmic training programs. IJCAHPO is the international division of the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel for Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) which was established as a not-for-profit organization in 1969 to offer certification and continuing education opportunities to ophthalmic allied health personnel. Since then, more than 25,000 people in the U.S.A, Canada, and around the world have earned JCAHPO certification. JCAHPO's mission is to enhance the quality and availability of ophthalmic patient care by promoting the value of qualified allied health personnel and by providing certification and education. IJCAHPO senior academics from JCAHPO and IJCAHPO were in Singapore specially to audit SNEC teaching programmes in March this year.

SNEC has been conducting its own training of Allied Health Professionals through its Basic Ophthalmic Nursing Course for Registered Nurses & Allied Health staff such as technicians and assistants conducting various investigations for patients. SNEC also receives participants from the region.

With an increasing demand for healthcare (aging population etc), there is also a need for more and improved training opportunities for nursing and allied health manpower. With the IJCAHPO accreditation, SNEC can now organise internationally recognised courses for nurses and allied health personnel, addressing the need for professional recognition and continuous learning. The accreditation means a step in the right direction for standardization and staff development leading to career progression where currently one learns on the job and is promoted only after several years of experience.

"Through SNEC's accreditation, a new and exciting partnership between SNEC and JCAHPO is being established to offer JCAHPO certification to SNEC programme graduates," stated JCAHPO President, Dr Karl Golnik. SNEC's accredited program will accelerate staff development with JCAHPO's certification and credentials being a graduate's crowning achievement."  

In addition to the IJCAHPO accreditation and JCAHPO certification, as part of Singapore Health Services' (SingHealth's) Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Programme, SNEC has partnered Duke-NUS Graduate School of Medicine to organise the first formal training programme for allied health staff on 17 May 2014 with a modular curricula developed by eye doctors, senior nurses and allied health professionals.  Course certificates will bear the mark of the three organisations – IJCAHPO, SNEC and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

As part of the Duke-NUS and SingHealth Partnership, the Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM.EI) is pleased to support Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Program's (ACP) efforts to establish the much needed ophthalmologic training programs. These programmes represents our first significant collaboration between the clinical and educational goals of the Academic Medicine initiative and will pave the way for ACP collaborations and enhancement of the clinical education infrastructure," said Dr Sandy Cook, Senior Associate Dean Medical Education, Research and Evaluation Department, Duke-NUS Graduate School of Medicine.

The programme is initially offered to existing staff to upgrade their skills. They are also required to pass exams to receive their formal JCAHPO certification. From next year, the programme will be extended to personnel from other hospitals and neighbouring countries. It is also hoped that the accredited programme and certification credential will encourage more people to join the eye care profession as nurses or technicians.

For Senior Enrolled Nurse Rosalie Lim of the SNEC, "The course helps to enhance individual's skill and help to maximise manpower as students involved in the course will be of better help to related department"

SNEC expects 10-20 nurses and technicians to be certified each year. SNEC will be exploring the possibility of being the regional examination centre for the JCAHPO certificate programmes. Senior eye doctors, nursing and allied health professionals will be examiners.

"This accreditation is timely. Our patients will increasingly demand quality health care not just from our doctors but from all members of the eye care team. We are proud to have attained this accreditation from both Duke-NUS Graduate School of Medicine and JCAHPO. We hope that this accreditation it will motivate our staff to recognize the value of attending such courses," said Dr Ian Yeo, Deputy Medical Director (Education), SNEC.

The accreditation by IJCAHPO has set a new milestone for SNEC to be on the international forefront for the development of eye care professionals", said Ms Low Siew Ngim, SNEC's Director of Nursing.

Media Release by Singapore National Eye Centre

Media contact:
Ravi Chandran
Corporate Communications
Singapore National Eye Centre
Tel: 63228394 / 81218569
Email: ravi.chandran@snec.com.sg

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