Our Council are meeting on 3 March 2016 to discuss the threats, opportunities and challenges faced by the future of optics.
|FACTOR||FOUR-FIVE YEARS (2020)||10 YEARS AND BEYOND|
Government is anti-regulation of businesses and pro-competition. It may be open to arguments for legislation that makes optical products more easily accessible or cheaper and that removes restrictions on who may prescribe or supply
There will be amendment to the regulation of health professions within a couple of years. It is not clear what form this will take. The General Optical Council (GOC) could be merged with other regulators
The GOC seems not to have an appetite for actively protecting the public from illegal supply
The devolved governments will mature into their role and increasingly provide a moderating influence over UK politics?
EU law may also override UK law
What will the NHS be like in 10 years’ time? Fewer services available free? A managed reduction in acute sector beds? Successful vanguards being replicated everywhere? Or a continuation of chaotic decline and crisis?
The devolved Governments could choose to take over the regulation of professionals
Interest rates will rise at some point. There will be no return to high growth rates
Will consumers continue to shop cautiously?
Government expenditure will continue to be limited
The funding mechanisms in optics will continue not to reward the clinical work actually done
The living wage will affect optics, and some businesses may not survive
Will businesses continue to offer “free” sight tests? Will they continue to add elements to their standard sight test as technology advances
Reform of business rates?
Funding mechanisms may fail to follow the social and technological changes, e.g. consultations with older people who have complex heath needs will take longer
What will be the impact of austerity on health and social care? Will it have led to commissioners fully grasping the need to find cost-effective solutions outside hospital
A larger number of people will qualify as optometrists and this could put pressure on salaries. Although this will probably continue to differ by location. And the different profile of new optometrists (many more female) may mean that they take breaks out of the profession
The economics of running businesses will differ by location/type of area, but will the optical business market continue to be more and more dominated by multiples?
Far fewer taxpayers, compared to older dependents, means far less funding for public services
If health price inflation continues to rise, many types of service may become difficult to fund
Continuing growth in internet purchasing. Use of online sources of information
People will still have a poor understanding of what optometrists do
Role of health professionals in promoting public health generally (eye GP – health related messaging)
Can we improve people’s understanding of optometry?
By 2030: 20 million people aged over 60 (from 14.7 in 2015) – many more living much longer
Eye health needs will rise in both old and young
In older people the needs will exist alongside other long term conditions such as diabetes and dementia which have implications for eye care in different ways, including chair time
Many more patients will appreciate home visits
Increasingly efficacious technology reduces (but does not replace) the need for a human expert
Virtual “try-on” of frames using tablets allows practices to hold “virtual stock”
Availability of self-refraction and auto-refraction technology
3D scanning/digitisation of patients’ heads to allow home 3D printing of custom frames
The ability with relatively small investment of circa £3m to produce an OCT costing £1000
Even more mobile technology in the home and workplace. Opportunities for domiciliary businesses?
Remote interpretation of results could make it easier for optometrists to deliver services in the community
Other developments include therapeutic delivery by contact lens and monitoring health through wearable technology
Potential for DOs to be given refracting rights
Potential for deregulation of dispensing or sight test restrictions
Potential extension of roles of orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses
What role can optometrists play in wider NHS teams such as falls and stroke clinics?
What are the education and training implications for everything in the first box?
What should that mean for regulation?
So what is the future for optometrists? Will they take on extra skills currently in the realm of ophthalmologists? Expanded role in public health?
Impact of the environment on eye health needs, including those related to lifestyle e.g. use of screens, not going outside, obesity
Will there be legislation to discourage waste and encourage recycling/use of recyclable and sustainable materials? What impact would that have on optics?
|What is the future for the High Street? Where wil people do their in-person shopping in the future?|