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AIO seeks a ground up review of The Opticians Act and reform of the GOS

AIO seeks a ground up review of The Opticians Act and reform of the GOS

The Body writes to the Secretary of State setting out the reasons why.

The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians has written to Sajid Javid asking for a meeting to set out why it is vital that long term reforms to the provision of eyecare in UK, and in particular in England, are progressed urgently.

The letter argues that the funereal pace of eye health care reform, is no longer acceptable. That there is a post code lottery for eye health care in England is extraordinary in the 21st century. Whilst there is recognition that more progressive change is happening in Scotland and Wales, AIO members in those countries are still frustrated that there is not faster and more radical change to embed primary eye health care in community optometry.

Opticians Act is no longer fit for purpose

The letter also points out that the Opticians Act is no longer fit for purpose and there should be a complete review of its outdated provisions.

Dr Christian French, Chairman of AIO said ‘there are those in the world of optics that have said on a number of occasions ‘be careful what you ask for’. AIO believes that such sentiments are rooted in the past and do not represent the views of progressive professionals, both optometrists and dispensing opticians, who seek radical change to the way eye health care is delivered to their patients.

The increasing number of Independent practices that are abandoning the NHS contract is testament to the fact the GOS regime is outdated and should be made redundant in its current form.’

The AIO Post-Covid Manifesto sets out a future path for the world of optics which is centred on long term eye health care and patient relationships, with community optometry and qualified dispensing at the heart of the proposals.

Dr French added: ‘it is time that the GOS fee was no longer used as mechanism to promote ‘free’ eye tests to generate sales of eyewear, and that taxpayer funds are focused on stopping people losing part or all of their eye-sight. In addition, delivering the AIO Manifesto would take pressure off the NHS, particularly in GP surgeries and A & E departments, and ultimately save taxpayers money.’

AIO is the professional body that represents independent optometric practitioners. It exists to serve the interests of its members working constructively with the General Optical Council and other optical stakeholders, Government Departments, industry representative bodies, consumer organisations and the media; national, local and trade.

AIO was founded in 1956 and has been dedicated to promoting the interests of optometrists and dispensing opticians practising independently for nearly 60 years

For more detailed information about the contents of the letter to the Secretary of State, or for a copy of the AIO Manifesto, please contact mike@aiovision.org or call 0800 1300 486 and ask for Lin or Mike.

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