OCL Vision announces staff numbers have trebled amid rise in number of consultations

The independent eye clinic, OCL Vision, has announced its latest growth figures, which show that the number of patients being seen by the clinic has nearly doubled (up 92%) compared to this time last year.

According to the figures published by OCL Vision, the clinic’s specialists carried out more than 3,600 new patient consultations in the year to November 2021, up from just under 1,900 during the previous 12 months.

They also carried out over 2,700 surgical procedures to treat a wide range of eye conditions, from laser vision correction and cataracts to glaucoma, retinal conditions and macular degeneration.

The news of an 84% year-on-year jump in surgery came as the clinic has also rapidly expanded its team. At 24, the number of full-time staff is now double what it was a year ago, and three times higher than it was when OCL Vision first opened its doors in November 2018.

A string of eminent surgeons has also joined the partnership, taking the number of consultant surgeons operating at OCL’s flagship central London clinic to nine – treble the number at launch.

The independent clinic’s rapid growth comes as the NHS wrestles with huge backlogs of patients after the Covid-19 pandemic forced it to cancel thousands of ‘non-essential’ operations.

Data from NHS England reveals that in September, 5.8 million patients who had been referred for hospital treatment were still waiting to be seen – the highest number on record. An incredible 300,000 had been waiting over a year for treatment, three times longer than the NHS’s target of 18 weeks from referral.1

Separate analysis of hospital data by OCL Vision found that NHS waiting times for cataract patients often far exceed the 18-week target. Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s natural lens common among people aged 60 and over, are the number one cause of blindness in the world. Yet OCL Vision’s research found that in 12 NHS trusts across England, those referred for cataract surgery have to wait nine months on average to be treated on the NHS.

Juliet Hicks, Chief Operating Officer at OCL Vision, commented: “As OCL celebrates its third anniversary, our rapid growth is a testament to the skill, hard work and dedication of our talented team of healthcare professionals.

“But it’s also a reminder of how vital a safety valve the private healthcare sector is, and why we regard ourselves as a complement rather than a competitor to the NHS. With 5.8 million people waiting for NHS hospital treatment in England alone, hundreds of thousands of patients each year value the greater speed and flexibility that going private offers.

“Three years ago, our three founding consultant surgeons set up OCL with a bold vision to assemble a team of world-class experts united by a common goal to provide superb patient care. Since then, they’ve been joined by a further six highly respected and skilful ophthalmic surgeons, each of whom brings their own unique expertise and perspective.

“In 2021 we’ve seen exceptionally strong demand from a wide range of patients as OCL’s reputation spreads. We’ve responded by doubling staff numbers in the past 12 months alone and investing in some of the most advanced surgical facilities in Britain. As we begin our fourth year, we’re committed to helping more people than ever get the treatment – and the vision – they want.”