Trends in provision of photodynamic therapy and clinician attitudes: a tracker survey of a new health technology

Robbie C Foy, Barny Foot, Jill Francis, Usha Chakravarthy, Richard P L Wormald

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Background: There has been debate about the cost-effectiveness of photodynamic therapy (PDT), a treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. We have been monitoring trends for the provision of PDT in the UK National Health Service. The fourth annual 'tracker' survey took place as definitive National Institute for Clinical Excellence ( NICE) guidance was issued. We assessed trends in PDT provision up to the point of release of the NICE guidance and identified likely sources of pressure on ophthalmologists to provide PDT.

Methods: National postal questionnaire survey of clinicians with potential responsibility for PDT provision. The survey explored reported local provision, beliefs about the effectiveness of PDT and what sources of opinion might influence attitudes towards providing PDT.

Results: The response rate was 73% (111/150). Almost half of the surveyed ophthalmology units routinely provided PDT, as part of a trend of steady growth in provision. The proportion of respondents who believed that further proof of effectiveness was required has also declined despite the absence of any new substantial evidence. Attitudes towards providing PDT were positive, on average, and were more strongly associated with perceived social pressure from local colleagues than from other sources. Local colleagues were seen as being most approving of PDT.

Conclusion: Those responsible for implementing the NICE guidance need to address ophthalmologists' beliefs about the evidence of effectiveness for PDT and draw upon supportive local individuals or networks to enhance the credibility of the guidance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages5
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2005


  • subfoveal choroidal neovascularization
  • macular degeneration
  • verteporfin


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