Irish Medical Organisation

Community Ophthalmic Physicians

  • The IMO represents two types of ‘Eye Doctor‘– medical ophthalmologists and surgical ophthalmologists.
  • Community Ophthalmic Physicians (COPs), directly employed by the HSE treat patients that are referred to them by Public Health Doctors and/or Public Health Nurses. They also treat GMS patients referred by GPs or Consultants. COPs also carry out population screening programmes.
  • Holders of HSE Community Ophthalmic Services Scheme (COSS) Contracts attend to both public and private patients and can offer surgical services to patients. The COSS has proven to be excellent value for money for the State and the IMO has encouraged the HSE to extend the Scheme and provide for more treatment to be delivered in a Primary Care setting.
  • The IMO has been working with the HSE, under the auspices of an independent chairman, Mr Michael McGinley, to set out a pathway for the future of Community Ophthalmology in Ireland.
  • In February 2011, the IMO received a commitment from the HSE to open dialogue on Mr McGinley’s findings with a view to addressing numerous concerns that have been expressed by IMO COP members including:
    • Contractual situation of current and long serving COPs
    • Procedures for appointment of Hospital based COPs
    • Pension rights for sessional COPs
    • Shortfalls in service caused by the Moratorium on Recruitment.
  • The IMO will keep Members informed as these negotiations progress.

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