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Five years of surveillance
  1. M R Stanford,
  2. on behalf of the British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit Steering Committee
  1. BOSU, Royal College of Ophthalmologists, 17 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QW, UK

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    The British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit

    The British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit (BOSU) has now been in existence for 5 years and has been actively involved in the surveillance of rare ophthalmological disorders for most of this time. It is now an appropriate time to consider what relevance it has to practising ophthalmologists. The unit was set up to facilitate national surveillance of rare conditions that were either important for the public health or whose natural history or management was of clinical or scientific interest to the ophthalmological community as a whole. The system of active case ascertainment is well known to be the most effective way of gathering information in these types of studies1 and is used in a number of medical subspecialties in both the United Kingdom and abroad, most notably by paediatricians on whose model the unit is based.

    The BOSU currently actively surveys 1062 ophthalmologists. This number is made up of 828 consultants and senior lecturers, 156 associate specialists, and 78 ophthalmologists in the Repubic of Ireland, all of whom have clinical autonomy. Over the past 12 months 342 have maintained a 100% response rate by returning all report cards, while only 72 (7%) have failed to return a single card. The response rate has risen steadily since the inception of the unit and is now consistently more than 70%. …

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