20 May 2021, 1:29 p.m.

A Medical Ophthalmologist from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been named as a finalist at the prestigious Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP) Excellence in Patient Care Awards.

Professor Peter Scanlon, who also has roles at Oxford University Hospitals and the University of Oxford, is one of three outstanding nominees for the ‘Contribution to the Profession’ award ahead of a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday 26 May.

The award is given to an RCP member or Fellow at any stage of their medical career who has shown excellence in their professional life so far.

Prof Scanlon said: “I am a great believer in effective team working, and I am very fortunate to work with some very conscientious hard-working individuals who really do put the patients’ needs first.

“When this level of commitment is harnessed with efficient team working it is easy to achieve as a team. I have been very fortunate to have the pleasure of working in two very effective Eye Units – in Oxford and Gloucestershire – and to have had the support of colleagues at Harris Manchester College and the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Oxford.

“I am very surprised to have found myself in the final.”

Prof Scanlon has been Clinical Director of the English NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme since its inception in 2003. This has been a major contributor to diabetic retinopathy (DR) no longer being the leading cause of working age blindness, as well as leading to other positive health benefits for people needing ophthalmic care.

He has helped improve processes for screening, assessment, and treatment across all of England to 2.3 million people with diabetes.

Prof Scanlon was nominated for the Excellence in Patient Care Awards by colleague Dr Alice McDowell, a Speciality Doctor in Ophthalmology at Gloucestershire Hospitals.

She said: “I have had the privilege of working with Peter Scanlon for over 20 years. He is such an inspirational colleague who has always been committed to improving patient care. He has been instrumental in improving eye health not only in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, but also further afield.

“Peter is an outstanding doctor and is committed to providing excellent patient care. He has devoted his whole career to the preservation of sight, and I would call him a trail-blazer in how to embrace technology and team working to improve the ophthalmic care patients receive.

“As a colleague, he is always available for advice and understands the importance of team working, and is attentive and always goes the extra mile.

“Peter has endless energy, determination, and is committed to improving the ophthalmic provision not only locally but also for the whole country. He is so deserving of this award.”

Stella Hornby, Clinical Lead for Ophthalmology and Consultant Ophthalmologist at OUH, said: “On behalf of the OUH Ophthalmology team, I’d like congratulate Peter and wish him luck at the Excellence in Patient Care Awards. His tireless work has made such positive and life-changing differences to patients across the country, and we could not be prouder of him.”

In 2018, Peter was awarded an Associate Professorship at the University of Oxford in ‘recognition of his contributions to research, teaching, and administration at Oxford and beyond’.

He is a Tutor and Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College in Oxford and, in four years, has given 34 regional, 18 national, and 60 international presentations with invitations to lecture in 12 countries.

Professor Susan Downes, Professor of Ophthalmology at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, said: “The Oxford Eye Hospital and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences are delighted to congratulate Associate Professor Peter Scanlon for being shortlisted for this prize.

“This is entirely deserved. Peter has been an amazing leader in developing and delivering diabetic retinopathy screening across the UK. We have been very fortunate in having Peter in Oxford spearheading this service. He has made a significant contribution to mentoring colleagues locally and nationally, as well as publishing seminal articles in the field.”

There are 10 categories in total, and more information about the awards can be found on the RCP website.

The Royal College of Physicians said: “Physicians and all healthcare professionals have had a difficult year full of unprecedented challenges. The unique and innovative solutions to overcome these challenges have resulted in an incredibly competitive year for the Excellence in Patient Care Awards (EPCA).

“We know each of our members and Fellows is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic acutely. So it's more important than ever that we recognise and celebrate your life-changing, life-saving work and research. Following a year that has been tough, stressful and upsetting, we'd like to focus on something joyful.”