The ophthalmology alliance was fortunate to be funded from the national vanguard programme in 2017/18. However the fixed term nature of this funding created challenges. The first alliance meeting was held in August 2017 and this left only seven months to establish a functioning alliance. Replication of the NOA model enabled progression at the fast rate needed.
It was clear the alliance would not be mature enough to become self-funding through membership contributions by March 2018 and members were keen not to lose the progress made. GIRFT was approached and agreed to fund the clinical lead for a further year as the alliance would be a vehicle to help GIRFT implement its findings nationally.
A key ambition for the UKOA, true to the collaborative spirit of the venture, is that governance is shared and not dependent on a single trust. It follows that the responsibility for funding the work is also shared. The aim is that the alliance will become self-funding from membership fees after March 2019.
An alliance model which has been established (NOA) and replicated successfully (UKOA) may provide evidence to support business cases for other specialties wanting to create their own alliance models.