Ophthalmology clinical placement at Queen Mary University of London, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Details of placement

Queen Mary University of London, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry organise ophthalmology clinical placements at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. They consist of a one-week placement for fourth year medical students and a four-week placement for fifth year medical students as the Student Selected Component (SSC) of their course.

The placement starts with a thorough induction. This includes a tour of the hospital where students are made aware of all facilities, including the multi faith prayer room. There is also one day of virtual teaching, covering key topics such as anatomy, problem-based learning, and cataract surgery. This is followed by a half day of face-to-face clinical skills teaching where students receive direct feedback.

During the placement students can attend clinics in eye casualty, theatre and specialised ophthalmology clinics. At the end of the week, students attend a half day face-to-face teaching session which includes sessions on ophthalmic prescribing, ethics and is a chance to discuss cases they have seen on placement. In these sessions students receive personalised feedback given by their clinical teaching fellow.

There is lots of enthusiasm from staff, you see effort from their side, so you put in more from your side.
Medical student

Good practice and innovative elements

  • Students receive extensive pre-placement information including a placement handbook and a detailed email*, which contains their clinical timetable for the week and details such as a map with directions to lockers.
  • Early timetabling is well received by students. Students are given the opportunity to attend a range of sub-specialty clinics. A named contact is also given to students in case they would like to discuss any aspect of the clinic further.
  • Students benefit from a ‘crash course teaching’ style at the beginning of the placement which receives positive feedback, in comparison to where teaching is scattered throughout placements. Students noted this allowed them to focus on learning outcomes during the placement.
  • Digital cue cards are used to display learning outcomes. Learning objectives are easily accessed electronically by clinical educators and students on digital cue cards, using their mobile devices. This enables the learning to be focused and relevant for students.
  • There are good multi-professional opportunities and students work with a range of healthcare professionals. This includes taking patient history alongside registrars, working with nurses in post-op clinics, and optometrists in the low vision clinics.
  • The trust clearly shows changes made in response to student and educator feedback. Students give feedback to the trust through Google forms at the end of the week-long placement. This is then discussed in departmental weekly meetings, and is then responded to by educators quickly and efficiently.
The placement is well planned, there’s something to do at all times.
Medical student

Positive outcomes

  • Students feel well supported throughout the placement. As well as the formal routes of pastoral support from clinical tutors and meetings with dedicated clinical teaching fellows twice a week, students also have access to informal support such as a WhatsApp group with clinical teaching fellows.
  • The trust focuses on developing a talent network. They offer mentoring to students who have attended the placement and are interested in pursuing a career in ophthalmology. They encourage students to get involved in teaching and other opportunities to build their portfolios. For example, senior medical students have recently been supported and involved in teaching 140 more junior students on a course, helping delegates to prepare for a national ophthalmology undergraduate exam.
  • All students highlighted the positive culture on placement. We heard experiences of medical students who have returned to work at Moorfields, having progressed to consultant level and teach the new cohort of medical students.
  • The placements hold great value, as students cover a breadth of topics and note the prioritisation of learning outcomes and curriculum-focused learning. These have a positive impact on exam preparation and the development of ophthalmic clinical skills.

*Pre-placement information template email


Welcome to Moorfields and your Ophthalmology placement rotation starting [DATE].

Your tutor for the week will be [TUTOR NAME], copied in.

Please take a moment to read this email as it contains a lot of important information for this placement.

a) Attendance

Please note that for this short rotation, attendance at all sessions is mandatory.

If you are unable to attend for any reason please contact your medical school AND myself via email [EMAIL ADDRESS]. I will then keep a log of your attendance and inform the relevant clinics/operating theatre teams. We will assume that you are attending all your sessions as timetabled. When arriving to clinics, please be proactive and introduce yourself to staff. In particular please make sure you introduce yourself to the consultant or whoever is in charge of the clinic at the start of the session.

b) Infection control

Prior to starting the placement, please read the infection control information below:

  1. IMPORTANT: Please note that all students, tutors and all Moorfields staff need to clean hands frequently with hand sanitiser. The use of mask is optional.
  2. Kindly ensure you are wearing the same or appropriate PPE as the clinicians in your clinic. Ask the clinician in charge for what to wear at the start of the clinic.
  3. You must maintain good hand hygiene throughout your time in clinical areas.
  4. If you feel unsafe in anyway, please report this immediately to the clinician in charge of the session and a member of the education team via [EMAIL ADDRESS]. You have permission to leave the session if you feel unsafe but please inform a member of the clinic if you do so.
  5. Please email the following statement to me after your induction.

"I confirm that I have had an infection risk assessment by my medical school prior to starting my attachment at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

I confirm that I have received an induction by Moorfields Eye Hospital which covers my responsibilities and that of Moorfields regarding infection control at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

I confirm I do not have signs or symptoms of COVID and know to contact the clinician in charge of the clinic and the education team if I have any concerns."

If there are any particular issues that we should be aware of regarding infection control please let us know in advance of your placement by emailing me on [EMAIL ADDRESS].

c) Teaching timetable

The teaching sessions on your timetable are Monday all day (online via MS Teams), Tuesday AM (face-to-face at Ebenezer Street) and Friday PM (face-to-face at Ebenezer Street).

The link to join the teaching sessions on Monday is on the attached Teaching Timetable. When you click on the link, you will be prompted to choose from:

  • Download the Windows app
  • Continue on this browser
  • Open your Teams app

You don’t need to download MS Teams if you don’t have it, you can just select Continue on this browser.

Please check your internet speed, connections, camera and mic well in advance so you don’t have problems on the day. Please join the Monday morning session at 08:45 to allow time for connection issues. You can then have the camera off until the teaching starts at 9am. During the teaching, please have your camera on and your microphone on mute. We advise you to use headphones and a laptop/tablet (not phone) for the session.

d) Clinical timetable

Please note that each student has been allocated a set individual clinical timetable which is not interchangeable for safety and security reasons i.e. you cannot swap your clinical sessions. The staff will be expecting the named student(s) only. In the unlikely event that your designated clinic /operating list is not taking place or patients are not booked in, please do not go to a different clinic or theatre. Instead, contact me immediately and I will try to give you an alternative session.

The clinical sessions start at 9:00am in the morning and 13.30pm in the afternoon. Theatre Sessions start 8.30am in the morning and 13.30pm in the afternoon. Please note that Clinics and Theatres are very busy and you are expected to be on time. The consultant or person in charge at the clinic may turn you away if you are late.

e) Useful information

Your rotation is overseen by [NAME] and [NAME] Should you have any concerns whilst on placement these can be raised directly with your ophthalmology placement leads, Teaching fellow, Administrator or through the QMUL Report + Support.


Attached you will find the following documents:

  • Clinical Timetable
  • Teaching Timetable
  • Handbook
  • 5 PBL cases (kindly review the attached PBLs prior to your virtual teaching sessions)
  • Directions and instructions to use lockers


Please note there is a Prayer room on the main hospital 1st floor should you wish to use it.

f) Feedback

We are utterly committed to providing an excellent service to our undergraduate students. If you encounter any difficulty related to the rotation or any other matter, please contact me or [NAME] via phone or email.

Feedback is very important to us. Please complete the feedback form online (link below) at the end of your Friday teaching:


Please ensure you bring with you any documents that are required by your Medical School, such as your skills sign off sheet and/or your attendance sheet.

We look forward to welcoming you to Moorfields, and hope that you will not only learn a great deal, but also enjoy your week here!

With best wishes,