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New Year Messages from our leaders

New Year Messages from our leaders

We bring you messages from Key Opinion-formers and Leaders of Optics UK

Message from Dr. Anne Wright CBE

Chairman General Optical Council 

Anne Wright CBE Chair GOC
2022 has been another busy year for the GOC, as we continued to implement our “fit for the future” strategy, aiming to deliver world-class regulation and excellent customer service, while continuing our vital work of protecting the public by upholding high standards in the optical professions.


A highlight of 2022 was the completion of the Education Strategic Review. We are now in the implementation phase of new education and training requirements which introduce several changes to ensure optical professionals are equipped for their future roles and that qualifications we approve are fit for purpose.

We also completed initial analysis of stakeholder responses to our call for evidence for the review of the Opticians Act 1989, and plan to publish the findings in 2023.

We’ll also be carrying out new research to expand our evidence base on business regulation and refraction for the purposes of the sight test.

As always, engagement with stakeholders and the sector has been vital to our work in upholding high standards and protecting the public. We will begin 2023 with two new Council members, one lay member and one dispensing optician, and will recruit two new Council Associates from April to continue to bring diverse perspectives and experience to the work of the Council.

On behalf of the Council, Leonie Milliner and GOC colleagues, I send our good wishes for the New Year to all our registrants and stakeholders.


By Roy Stoner, OSA Chairman


Sustainability in optics will underpin all aspects of the supply chain to a far greater extent in 2023. The foundations have been set and expectations are high for adaptation of the OSA Green Charter and the four levels of accountability. Our members provide the frames, lenses, diagnostic and treatment technologies upon which clinicians rely.  We take the responsibility seriously and the work which has gone into refining the Green Charter is considerable.  Throughout 2023 we will highlight the very best innovations and ideas that our members have demonstrated to create a carbon net zero sector.

Leadership in sustainability is matched with an equal commitment to provide the highest level of professional accountability in the adaptation of new diagnostic and treatment technologies. The use of AI is fundamental to progress in all healthcare sectors and optometry and ophthalmology is no exception, but we must ensure that the profession can refer and diagnose with confidence in our increasingly litigious world.

Currently a lack of confidence is holding back the advance of technology and we are committed to address this with our members, who lead the sector.

Underpinning these two important initiatives – and a host of other technologies – is a tremendous degree of goodwill and co-operation. We are committed to working together to achieve the very best outcomes for the entire sector – and most importantly, the patients we serve.

Message from Alistair Bridge, ABDO CEO from 1 January:

ABDO will be doing everything we can to support and represent members during what will be a very challenging period. Our membership team will continue to provide personalised, professional support and signpost members to our wide range of benefits, including a legal helpline for advice on employment issues, counselling services, personal help through our Benevolent Fund and discounts on everyday items.

Our Annual Plan for 2023 will set out all the activities we will be carrying out on behalf of members and one new initiative will be to raise awareness among employers of the roles of dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians and the value they can add. Another new venture will be to develop and implement our research strategy to add to the evidence base for the profession.

We will continue work to revise our Level 6 FBDO diploma in line with the GOC’s new education requirements. Enabling members to meet their CPD requirements through our extensive programme of articles, webinars, online peer discussions and practical training days will also be a priority. And we will continue working in partnership with organisations across the UK to influence the development of new eyecare services, including through our support for LOCSU.

From Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, The College of Optometrists

I’d like to wish colleagues across the sector all the best for 2023. We know that it’s not going to be an easy year. The College will be working to provide support to help the profession and patients through the difficult times, and planning for a brighter future ahead.

Through the year, we will be encouraging the public not to neglect their eye care and general health during the current cost of living crisis – through public and member campaigns, fully supported by high quality CPD and in-practice resources.

‘The NHS is currently under tremendous pressure, and we believe that optometrists can play a key role in alleviating this pressure by taking on new roles and responsibilities. This year, we will continue to amplify the expert voices of optometrists, and ensure that UK government and national health services recognise and fully utilise their clinical and professional skills. We are reinforcing this with our review of the College’s higher qualification provision and by updating the Guidance for Professional Practice, which will ensure the profession is equipped to provide evolving eye care services.

‘We will support optometrists to benefit from the changes and opportunities within eye care, and prepare them to mentor and develop future generations of practitioners. Our enhanced approach to professional formation and development launches with universities and employers in the autumn. This will underpin our UK-wide university partnerships, complementing the new integrated qualifications, supporting students through to registration, and adding value at each stage of our members’ careers.’

Doug Perkins, Chairman and Founder of Specsavers, comment for Opchat News

‘I get a sense that the public at large in 2022 are more knowledgeable and engaged in the full scope of optometry services than ever. However, on the downside the economic challenges, especially in the winter months still to come are also having an impact.

‘The answer for most practitioners is to relook at their value proposition, which in the light of current and ongoing inflation, is not easy.

Optical products and equipment costs have risen due both to supply chain inflation and falls in Sterling. There is also a natural requirement of colleagues in store to be protected with their cost of living with higher salaries.

Lowering prices may therefore not be on the agenda.

‘I am a great supporter of all practice colleagues making a special effort to demonstrate “Total Care” of the patient. If you can add more time to quality communication and enhanced optometry services, you can reduce stress on the patient and send them away happy.’


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