The only organisation to accept FODO's 'multi-disciplinary professional standards' is Optical Express, who - as can be seen from their recently revised governance page - are blatantly giving the finger to the College (who imo totally deserve it!)
And although businessman Russell Ambrose personally asked Advanced Vision Care owner Dr CT Pillai to join the Optical Confederation's 'Expert Panel', I can find nothing on his Optimax/Ultralase sites mentioning these standards, or even the RCOphth standards!
(Do keep in mind my extremely poor vision following lasek surgery at Optimax in 2011, so it is of course very possible I've missed the link!)
To be fair to CT Pillai, in July 2017 he did ask that the Optical Confederation remove his name from FODO's standards, and they replied,
'Dear Dr Pillai
We will of course arrange for your name to be removed from the report posted on the website – although this may take a couple of days to appear as amended.
With best wishes
Ann Blackmore | Director of Policy and Strategy'
Six months later CT Pillai's name remains, alongside OE's oft-cited names on OERML - AND London Vision Clinic owner, Dr Dan Reinstein.
I questioned Dan about his part in July 2017, and he replied,
As a surgeon, I will continue to follow the RCO guidelines. The Optical Council guidelines apply to optometrists and while they consulted with me, I did not and do not agree with all their points but had no control over the final contents of the report. Being a member of a review committee does not mean you agree with all elements of their report. However, I am in favour of their recommendation concerning the issue of redress for unhappy patients via the use of an independent mediator to provide these patients with a fair resolution to their problems as I have said before.
Dan Z Reinstein, MD MA(Cantab) FRCSC DABO FRCOphth FEBO'
Assuming that the 'Optical Council' Dan refers to is the GOC, they assured me that they did not consult with him. (I did ask him for clarification, but as yet have received no reply.)
I am somewhat curious to know why Dr Dan Reinstein collaborated with Optical Express when he does his best to sell himself as a superior laser surgeon (sadly I know of too many patients who would disagree, radio presenter Anneka Rice being one).
Also, bad enough that OE surgeon Dr David Teenan does not follow the RCOphth refractive surgery standards (that he helped write), but as one of the main contributors to the competing FODO standards it is absolutely gob smacking that the RCOphth have not removed him from the RSSWG!
NB: I am in possession of numerous emails from Kathy Evans concerning the College's refusal to do so, dating back to 2015, when they were given evidence of numerous legal claims against Teenan (which have increased exponentially).
The state of the refractive surgery industry, with corruption at its every level, and the refusal of the government to address this scandal, is simply mind boggling!
Sometimes I think I must be dreaming - or rather, in the midst of one awful endless nightmare!
Date: 13 December 2017 at 12:39:11 GMT+5:30
Subject: FODO standards
Please advise whether or not the Optical Confederation did liaise with the RCOphth as recommended by the GMC - see below.
Can you also confirm the position of the RCOphth regarding the FODO standards.
Sasha Rodoy | My Beautiful Eyes Foundation
Patient Advocate & Campaign Manager'
The above paragraph infers that the GMC has commented on the ‘basic principles’ of the FODO standards. I would therefore appreciate further details for clarification.
I look forward to your earliest response.
Sasha Rodoy | My Beautiful Eyes Foundation
Patient Advocate & Campaign Manager"
FODO's reply totally avoided answering my question, just like David Moulsdale who, as yet, has not responded to my simple question, 'Did OE fund FODO standards?'
I then wrote to the GMC...
'Subject: Re FODO Multi-Disciplinary Professional Standards
Can you please tell me whether or not the GMC engaged in any discussion with FODO, or made any comment - as is inferred on their website - with reference to their published standards for refractive eye surgery which are in direct conflict with the RCOphth standards.
Can you also tell me if FODO’s standards are recognised and/or accepted by the GMC.'
I sent similar emails to the RCOphth and GOC...
For a number of reasons I have little time for the CQC, and even less respect for some of their senior inspectors who I've personally dealt with, so I didn't bother asking for their response.
The CQC are good for finding rats in the basements of refractive surgery clinics, but out of their depth - to the point of negligent in my opinion - when dealing with the bigger and more dangerous rats at floor level!
The GMC replied on 12 December 2017
Thank you for your email asking whether the GMC engaged in any discussion with FODO with reference to their published standards for refractive eye surgery.
We responded to the Optical Confederation’s consultation on multi-disciplinary professional standards for refractive surgery providers and clinical teams.
I have attached our response, in which you’ll see we suggested that our Cosmetics guidance offers a framework that other professions would find useful.
We also advised that the Optical Confederation liaises more closely with RCOphth to better align their guidance.
Policy and Enquiries Officer
General Medical Council'
To be clear, FODO’s standards are not recognised by the GMC, RCOphth, CQC, or GOC!
However, it’s surprising that Dr Dan Reinstein (London Vision Clinic) and Dr CT Pillai (Advanced Vision Care) were both prepared to align themselves with Optical Express and contribute to the FODO standards.
To be fair, after discussion with me earlier this year, CT Pillai did instruct FODO to remove his name from all their publications. They agreed to do so (I have copies of relevant correspondence) but have not done so.
I can only assume that both surgeons were paid for their contribution - but should Dan and CT want to deny this, in the interests of transparency I will publish their responses.
Regular OERML followers may recall that Alan Tinger (FODO board director) attended the public consultation for the RCOphth draft standards in 2016, claiming to be a member of the public who’d undergone refractive eye surgery.
During the meeting I asked him who he was, because of his aggression and rudeness towards MBE members when we were stating our reasons for dissatisfaction with the RCOphth draft standards.
He took copious notes, and was loudly dismissive of our concerns, trying to sidetrack the meeting with questions of no relevance to us damaged patients, which was what initially alerted me to the possibility that he was reporting back to either Optimax or OE.
His attitude to me was especially offensive, which didn’t make sense unless he was connected to the industry.
NB: In case Alan Tinger disputes anything I have written, the meeting was recorded, as was our brief one to one conversation outside the building.
At no time did he disclose his involvement with Optical Express, something I discovered when googling his name the following day.
I then contacted the RCOphth and complained that if MBE members were not allowed to attend industry consultations, then nor should they be allowed to attend our public consults.
I will be publishing correspondence concerning the FODO standards from the GMC, GOC, and RCOphth very soon.
I also have a xmas cracker that I’ve been saving for you - an email to me, and one of his damaged patients, from an OE surgeon.
He accuses me of misinforming the public and ‘challenges’ me to publish his emails.
Big mistake - I love a challenge
On 25 November he wrote, ‘I give you both a month to apologise and publish the retractions however I will reserve the right to initiate legal action at all times. I shall also send the contents of this communication to the Labour leader Jeremy Corbin [sic] and the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who need to know about your misdeeds against me.’
As he asks, I intend to publish my response on 25 December, exactly one month since his email.
Meanwhile, this troubled doctor presumably doesn’t realise that I have worked closely with John McDonnell since 2012, campaigning for regulation of this corrupt industry!
And so he had no need to contact either Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell with details of my ‘misdeeds’ against him, as I forwarded his email to the Shadow Chancellor immediately!
Not willing to accept the RCOphth refractive surgery standards - even though their own Medical Director David Teenan was on the RSSWG panel, one excuse given to justify my removal as Lay Adviser in 2015 - Optical Express worked with FODO* to publish their own.
(Scroll down for history)
The other surgeons were London Vision Clinic owner Dr Dan Reinstein and Dr CT Pillai from Advanced Vision Care - read more about them on OERML website forum!
Dr Pillai personally told me that he was involved at Russell Ambrose’s request, suggesting that the latter has no intention of running his Optimax & Ultralase clinics in accordance with the RCO (unenforceable)standards.
But as I always like to be sure of my facts before I publish, on 17 August 2017 I wrote to FODO Chief Executive David Hewlett:
As the only acknowledged refractive surgery patient advocacy service in this country MBE Foundation is unaware of any of our clients having been asked for feedback. We would therefore appreciate further details and/or evidence to support FODO’s claim.
Furthermore, I am advised that the FODO standards were funded by Optical Express. Can you please confirm or deny this.'
23 August 2017 I received a response from 'The FODO Information Team’:
'We note your interest in the Multi-disciplinary Professional Standards for Refractive Surgery Providers and Clinical Teams. Sponsored by FODO, ABDO, ACLM and FMO – members of the Optical Confederation, representing community eye care providers – the standards aim to establish new protections for UK patients and clarity for clinical teams. They are intended to ensure patients get the highest quality of care across the board.
Following the consultation, the responses were reviewed and the standards were revised in light of feedback by an Expert Panel comprised of a range of senior clinicians working in the refractive surgery field. Having completed its work, the Expert Panel was disbanded on publication of the standards.
The Multi-disciplinary Professional Standards for Refractive Surgery Providers and Clinical Teams will be reviewed in June 2019. At this time a new Expert Panel will be formed.’
No answers to my questions, so on 23 Aug 2017 I emailed David Hewlett again:
'I can only assume that the person who replied to my email of 15 August must also have visual problems, as they have not attempted to address my questions.
For ease of reference my questions were as follows:
1. As the only acknowledged refractive surgery patient advocacy service in this country MBE Foundation is unaware of any of our clients having been asked for feedback. We would therefore appreciate further details and/or evidence to support FODO’s claim.
2. I am also aware that Dr CT Pillai asked that his name be removed from the standards published on your website. Almost three weeks later I note that Dr Pillai’s name has not yet been removed from the document.
3. Furthermore, I am advised that the FODO standards were funded by Optical Express. Can you please confirm or deny this.’
On 26 September I wrote again, 'A reminder that I am still waiting for your response to my previous email.’
And again on 18 November...
'Your reluctance to answer my simple and straightforward questions is quite baffling, because if you expect FODO standards to be accepted and/or trusted by anyone (besides Optical Express) then surely it is essential for your organisation to exhibit transparency and honesty.
I therefore again ask, as the only acknowledged refractive surgery patient advocacy service in this country MBE Foundation is unaware of any of its clients/members having been asked for feedback. We would therefore appreciate further details and/or evidence to support FODO’s claim.
My second point re CT Pillai does not require an answer at this time, but my third most definitely does.
I am advised that the FODO standards were funded by Optical Express. Can you please confirm or deny this?’
Still no response, not even a polite acknowledgement!
I therefore think it safe to say that OE confirmed my last question by publishing the FODO standards at the top of their page!
Subject: Misleading advertising
Date: 10 October 2017 at 20:34:05 BST
Please confirm that the UK Health Centre will now be asked to remove this incorrect and misleading information about the College from their advertising.
Sasha Rodoy | My Beautiful Eyes Foundation
Patient Advocate & Campaign Manager
Thank you for your email.
I have contacted the UK Health Centre to alert them to the errors on their website.
Kathy Evans | Chief Executive
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Yet another business masquerading as a genuine health advisory service, and had I been able to find a contact number I’d have called and introduced myself, because this is misleading and nonsensical bullsh*t!
Not least because the RCO has no power to stop surgeons operating, and - as regular readers know - proven that they don't give two hoots about the well being of patients, only concerned with keeping their surgeon members happy, aiding and abetting them to profit from this unregulated and significantly risky surgery!
And I invite any College member to challenge me should they disagree, because I’ll be happy to enter public debate at any time!
Disappointingly though, I doubt that any refractive surgeon would take me on when I have collected so much info and evidence during the past six years, and especially as none of them know who's next to be mentioned on Sasha Rodoy's (s)hit list…
The core group responsible for writing the College’s Refractive Surgery Standards advertorial are all laser/lens surgeons, spuriously claiming 95% satisfaction rate - even though the RSSWG Chair Bruce Allan admitted to me in writing (apparently to the College and colleagues’ dismay), 'We do not have accurate contemporary figures for the numbers of refractive surgery procedures performed in the UK.’
You don’t have to be a statistician to figure out why the 95% claim is therefore a big fat lie!
Meanwhile, even busier than usual, I’ve had little time to post on my sites, and so have a backlog of news for you, which includes details of patients left blind as a result of laser eye surgery.
But as the industry claim this is so rare, quoting 1 in 5 million, it’s surely incredible - perhaps unbelievable - that I know three of them!
Not forgetting Ronnie Reid, also blind in one eye following lens replacement surgery performed by OE surgeon David Teenan - a core member of the RSSWG.
And in my opinion, it makes no difference whether this is caused by the surgery or post op infection, blind is blind!
On a personal note, this morning I woke up with severe pain and blurred vision in one eye, simply serving to remind me why I do what I do!
And you can rest assured I won't be stopping any time soon...