Core Training in Ophthalmology
Core Training in Ophthalmology is the common entry route to medical or surgical ophthalmology in Ireland.
The purpose of the core foundation years is to provide a broad based initial training in ophthalmology with attainment of knowledge skills and professional behaviours relevant to the practice of ophthalmology in any specialist discipline. Within these core years of training, much of the content is common across both surgical and medical ophthalmology. Following successful completion of Core Training (requires passing the MRCSI exam) and depending on career preference and ability, candidates can compete to enter either Specialist Training in Medical Ophthalmology or Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology
Entry to the programme is by annual competitive interview run by the Irish College of Ophthalmologists. Available posts are advertised via this website in November/December of each year.
To apply for the Core Training Program a trainee needs to be registered with the Medical Council of Ireland and eligible for trainee specialist registration.
Successful candidates are appointed to one of three rotations for a three year period. Contracts of employment are issued by the relevant hospitals.
Ophthalmology, especially surgical ophthalmology, is a highly competitive specialty in Ireland. Entry on to the Program is by competitive interview held at the Irish College of Ophthalmologists. Consideration is given to an honours medical degree, prizes /medals (see below) achieved during undergraduate years, postgraduate degrees and presentations, research and /or publications. Personal and professional attributes such as, ability to work as a team, communications skills and personal motivation are also important.
Any interested graduate can contact Siobhan Kelly who can put you in touch with the Dean of Postgraduate Education or other Eye Doctors working throughout the country, whose team, either junior or senior, would be happy to talk to you about a career in Ophthalmology.
Application for entry onto Core Training Programme commencing in July 2017
- Application form
- Guidance document for completion of application
- Eligibility for trainee specialist division
- English Language requirement
- Allocation of places
- Referee Assessment Document
- Selection Score sheet
*NB a candidate can apply on two occasions only for the national training programme. A third attempt will not be considered.
Core Training in Ophthalmology (CTO)
The purpose of the foundation years of ophthalmology training is to provide a broad based initial training in ophthalmology with attainment of knowledge skills and professional behaviours relevant to the practice of ophthalmology in any specialist discipline. Within these core years of training, much of the content is common across both surgical and medical ophthalmology. Following successful completion of Core Training in Ophthalmology (requires passing the MRCSI exam) and depending on career preference and ability, candidates can compete to enter either Specialist Training in Medical Ophthalmology or Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology.
Core Training is based on a clearly defined curriculum which sets out:
- Training structure and pathway
- Educational content
- Assessment and appraisal processes
- Examination format and regulations
- Counselling and support arrangements
- Core Training in Ophthalmology introduces trainees to the specialty of ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery and to the care and management of the ophthalmic patient;
- Principles of assessment and investigation of the surgical patient (elective / emergency)
- Pre-operative preparation, peri-operative management and postoperative care of the surgical patient.
- Principles of operative surgery and theatre etiquette.
- Surgical and multidisciplinary team working
- Professional behaviour/ethical practice
- Pattern of life long learning
There are clearly defined competencies which must be achieved in order to progress to the next phase of training. This curriculum defines the principles and practice of Core Training.
All trainees must keep a record of their surgical and clinical procedures. eLogbook is an online system which facilitates doctors to keep a complete record of procedures performed.
Trainees are assessed every six months in the Irish College of Ophthalmologists.
Trainees must submit two weeks in advance of their assessments the following documentation:
- Up to date CV, including contact details
- Workplace Base Assessments - year 1 only
Year 1 Core Trainees:
For each six months a first year trainee must do:
1 surgical WBA
2 clinical WBAs
Surgical WBAs can be attempted x 3 times
Clinical WBAs can be attempted x 2 times
The best WBA is scored but all forms must be submitted (up to 7 forms)
Forms are initially retained by the trainer but scores are communicated to trainees. All forms must be submitted to the College by the last day of the month preceeding the CAPA appraisals which are usually held in June and December.
- Current timetable
- Trainers Report Form
- CAPA A forms - Years 1-3
Progression from Core Training to Surgical Training for those who commenced from July 2015 onwards will in part be based upon performance in Core Training.
The attached document provides details on what aspects of the training programme will be scored.
Please be advised that the scorecard may under-go minor modifications through-out 2016/2017.
The ICO will consider applications for out of programme experience (OPE). The application for OPE must be made to the Dean of Post Graduate Education. Applications for OPE must be made 6 months in advance of the expected start date. OPE activities which further your training programme must be approved by the Dean. Advice can be sought from research supervisors, educational supervisors or the Training Director as necessary. You must complete all documentation recording out of programme progress in the grade to ensure that the Dean is aware of your location and intentions when you are undertaking research or other recognised activities outside the Irish hospital service, taking leave of absence or gaining experience abroad.
If you are employed outside the Irish hospital service and you cease to pursue, for any reason, the research or other activity which has been agreed, you must inform the Dean promptly. It will then be decided, in consultation with the ICO Training Committee, whether it is appropriate for you to remain within the programme. If you are employed outside the Irish hospital service and wish to begin or return to the Training Programme, you must accept a reasonable offer of a suitable placement. Offers of placements will, as far as possible, take into account your training need.
The Irish Part 1 exam has been discontinued and trainees must now pass the FRC(Ophth) Part 1 in order to proceed to MRCSI (Ophth) Part 2. This exam is held in the UK. Further details can be found at www.rcophth.ac.uk/examinations
Trainees must pass the MRCSI (ophthalmology) to successfully complete Core Training. The exam is run by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
The MRCSI (Ophth) is an internationally recognised examinations that assesses competence in clinical ophthalmology and the relevant basic sciences. It focuses on the assessment of the key components of clinical competence; knowledge, clinical skills, communication, clinical reasoning ability and professionalism. Candidates are required to demonstrate competence in all of these areas to achieve success in the examination.
Further information on the examination, calendar and application procedure is available at rcsi.ie/ophmembersexams
- Postgraduate Ophthalmology Exams in Ireland
- Click here for a overview on the exam structure by Prof Conor Murphy,Professor of Ophthalmology at RCSI
- For further information on the funding available from the HSE Medical Education & Training Unit for exam fees please review this document
On satisfactory completion of all elements of Core Training, trainees will be awarded a Certificate of Completion of Core Training in Ophthalmology. This certificate signifies that the trainee has performed satisfactorily and has reached the level of competence which is expected at the end of core training. In order to obtain a Certificate of Completion of Core Training, trainees must:
- Have a minimum of six satisfactory CAPA Process grades
- Have passed the MRCSI Examination or equivalent
Trainees must also have:
- Completed and submitted an audit to ICO in year 3
- Attended a Human Factors course and passed the OSCE
- Attended the following courses: Microsurgical Skills Course, Surgical Bootcamp; Neuro Ophthalmology course; Adare Retina Meeting; Anaesthesia course and the ICO annual meeting
Trainees are eligible to apply for specialist registration in ophthalmology with the Medical Council when the ICO has issued a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Core Training in Ophthalmology. Applicants must have completed a minimum of four years duration of training and have documented evidence of satisfactory experience in the core competencies.
The European Board of Ophthalmology Examination is a requirement from 2011 for recommendation for specialist registration for Ophthalmology and will be taken during the final 4th year of specialist training in Ophthalmology. Eligibility for the EBO exam requires success in the MRCSI examination.
The medical workforce is changing and, over recent years, numerous reports have pointed to the importance of providing flexible working arrangements for doctors.
The HSE National Flexible Training Scheme for Specialist Trainees is a national scheme managed and funded by NDTP equivalent to 12 whole WTE fully funded supernumerary posts, i.e. up to 24 participants at any one time.
The scheme facilitates doctors at higher specialist training level to continue their training in a flexible manner for a set period of time.
Trainees must be enrolled in a Specialist Training Programme under the auspices of one of the postgraduate medical training bodies recognised by the Medical Council in Ireland.
The HSE National Flexible Training Scheme Guide sets out details of the National Flexible Training Scheme and provides information for trainees, training bodies and employers about the programme.
If you wish to apply to the HSE National Flexible Training Scheme please complete and submit the application form.