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Creative spirits

How Halloween has entered the festive calendar – and how it continues to fire-up the imagination

01 Nov 2018 by John White

Hand-carved pumpkin art, giant cobwebs over the front window, and entire families bedecked in spooky fancy dress for a trick or treat mission.

To be honest, this was not the scene I grew up with in rural Wiltshire. Back then, Halloween was not high on the list of village festivities – Guy Fawkes and the precariously balanced bonfire with an effigy was always a much bigger deal.

Fast-forward to life in London today, and it seems that Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve) has grown in popularity. That said, on a trip to California in October last year, I experienced the US mega-watt version (think a 10-metre high inflatable spider engulfing an entire house), which told me that the UK has a way to go yet.

What I am struck by is the way in which we find ways to embrace traditions, old and new, and respond to them in clever, creative ways. The AOP team got in on the act this week with its own charity Halloween quiz, complete with edible goodies with a ghoulish twist.

The OT team is busily preparing for the December edition, which is focused on the patient experience. From great communications skills, to the growing value of eye care pathways, to creating a knock-out window for the practice, there is new thinking to share and learn. Please do get in touch with us if you have a story to tell: newsdesk@optometry.co.uk

A milestone that is being recognised and celebrated this year is the NHS’ 70th anniversary. With a funding settlement of £20 billion over five years proposed by the Government, NHS England has been working on a long-term, 10-year plan. This process saw NHS England carry out a consultation during September, and the AOP submitted a response. OT spoke to Dharmesh Patel, AOP Councillor for the North West, to find out more.

“We focused on the need to make greater use of optometrists in the community – to help meet current demand, as we know hospital eye departments are struggling to cope, and to deal with future growth in demand,” he explained, adding that “the major barriers to achieving this are current commissioning arrangements and the lack of routine IT connectivity.”

With the New Year a mere eight weeks away, a remaining item on the to-do list in 2018 for some AOP members is to secure any outstanding GOC CET competencies. If you do need to, please check out OT's CET Survival Pack. The pack contains eight CET exams, including two videos. The exams cover all the required competencies for optometrists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians. They also cover five of the eight competencies for therapeutic optometrists. The exams will be open from 1 November until midnight on 26 December. We hope you find it useful.

Image credit: Getty

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