Our team works across three purpose-built clinics with
individual Orthoptic clinic rooms and equipment at
Maidstone Hospital, Medway Hospital and Tunbridge Wells
We see a wide range of patients from premature babies to sprightly centenarians planning their next trip abroad.
Patients are referred through GPs, community optometrists, school vision screening, paediatricians, neurologists, endocrinologists, maxillo-facial surgery and other specialties.
We work closely with our in-house Optometry colleagues, Ophthalmologists, and nursing and technician teams.
Where we work
The team works across three purpose-built clinics with individual Orthoptic clinic rooms and equipment at Maidstone Hospital, Medway Hospital and at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
Our base is at Maidstone Hospital where we all work at least one day a week and spend the other days visiting the other sites. We run a Saturday clinic once a month. We also have strong links with London hospitals, where we have shared care pathways for patients. This means we work with different people in different surroundings during the week bringing variety to the role, keeping it interesting and making sure there is never a dull moment!
To allow the right amount of time for each patient we have a mixture of 20, 30 and 40-minute appointment slots, enabling a high standard of patient care. We are rarely the only Orthoptist in the clinic so always have someone to ask – which happens even to the most experienced of us – and we have annual appraisals and regular department meetings to get together as well as keep up to date with service developments.
Roles in the team
New graduate Orthoptists start as a Band 5 working with and supported by their colleagues through their preceptorship to progress to Band 6 roles. Each Band 6 Specialist Orthoptist has their own small area of responsibility, to encourage career development and progression if desired. Our Band 7 Advanced Orthoptists run different services within the department, i.e., lead for each site, Glaucoma, Stroke and Clinical Tutor.
The department is led and managed by a Band 8a Deputy Head Orthoptist and a Band 8b Head Orthoptist, whose doors are always open. We are very lucky to be supported by our own clerical team who have a team leader, deputy team leaders and five clinic receptionists who rotate to cover the Orthoptic and Optometry reception desks. They know our services inside out and where our talents lie to help match the right patient to the right Orthoptist.
They do their best to make sure that patients’ notes are prepared and available to us and that our clinics run smoothly. The Orthoptic and Optometry departments share a Personal Assistant who helps us with any task, big or small, and who keeps us organised.
How we work
We arrive at 8.30am to prepare for our first patient. One clinic might involve assessing, diagnosing and treating new and follow up children, young people or adults. Some will be booked jointly with an Optician or Ophthalmologist and others will be just for you.
During your clinic you may need to liaise with an Ophthalmic doctor, nurse, technician or the ECLO to support your patient. There will be clinic letters to write and may be other professionals to contact such as advisory teachers for children with a visual impairment, or social services. In between patients there are colleagues, emails and training to catch up with; you may have been asked to help with data collection for an audit, review a department leaflet, or prepare for a journal club. We have a 45 minute lunch break together and talk about anything and everything. We laugh at the funny things that have happened to each other and support each other when times are tough.
Your afternoon clinic may be telephone consultations for patients who have long term stable conditions or are waiting for test results. This could be followed with time blocked out of your clinic for a 1:1 with your line manager to review your progress, raise any concerns and discuss opportunities for development. The last patients are booked at 4.00 pm and we leave at 4.45 pm. If your clinic has run late and you have to stay beyond this time it can be recorded as time that you can take back another day.
Orthoptic students from UCL, Liverpool and Sheffield universities visit us for at least 26 weeks a year with their placements organised by our department clinical tutor.
We get great feedback from our students so if you are a new graduate thinking of applying to join us, please ask around your year group to see who visited us for their thoughts too.
We know we are a long way from home for some of you so you will be pleased to hear that Orthoptists have worked at MTW from as far away as Glasgow to as nearby as Gillingham
Come and join us
We’re a very social team and get together outside work when we can, enjoying trips to the theatre, sponsored walks and summer picnics.
If you are successful in applying for a job in the Orthoptic Department at MTW we will do our best to look after you as you start or continue your career with sound clinical experience, a robust preceptorship process and a very warm welcome.