Predictors of ophthalmology career success (POCS) study
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  • Published on:
    Beware of False Reassurances
    • Shaman J Dolly, Ophthalmology Registrar Central Middlesex Hospital
    • Other Contributors:
      • Evelyn Mensah, Consultant Ophthalmologist

    We commend the authors on the first substantial work in assessing such an issue. However, we believe that important metrics have been overlooked.

    Socioeconomic Class:
    This study’s supplementary dataset demonstrates that certain universities, namely Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London, have significantly higher number of graduates entering OST on their first attempt and passing the Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (FRCOphth) Part 1 exam than other universities. These universities are known to accept a lower proportion of candidates in lower SEC and Participation Of Local Areas (POLAR) quintiles than average (1).
    Those offered a place on OST had significantly higher educational performance measure (EPM) which comprises of points for examination ranking and additional degrees and publications (2) . For a variety of societal or financial reasons, lower SEC students may be less likely to intercalate or pursue medicine as a graduate, reducing their EPM(3).
    Further, a potential financial barrier exists of up to £5,078 for additional opportunities to increase portfolio score when applying to OST (4).
    Whilst no difference in this paper was found on first application, many gain OST after multiple attempts which bring with it a lack of job security, which could deter lower SEC applicants due to dependants, financial or geographical obligations.

International medical graduates...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Differential Attainment in Ophthalmology

    Dear Aditi Das, Daniel Smith and Rashmi Mathew,

    Thank you for your interesting and important article exploring predictors of career success in ophthalmology. It is vital that we examine the factors that both enable and hinder career progression in medicine and surgery, as these affect the wellbeing and retention of doctors, arguably two of the biggest issues currently afflicting our profession. In addition, tackling differential attainment in doctors' career success is a matter of ensuring our core values of equality, diversity and inclusion are upheld in healthcare. Resultantly, differential attainment has become a research priority for key stakeholders, including the national bodies of the General Medical Council (GMC), Health Education England, the British Medical Association and the Royal Colleges.

    Your article stated that for your study's cohort, there was no association between ethnicity and passing the FRCOphth Part 1 on the first attempt. Conversely, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) announced that GMC data found a statistically significant variation in the percentage of doctors passing FRCOphth examinations on their first attempt, depending on place of primary medical qualification and ethnicity. White UK graduates had a 72% pass rate, while BAME (Black, Asian or minority ethnic) UK graduates had a 60% pass rate, reducing to 50% for international BAME graduates.(1) These results display one way in which differential attainmen...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.