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AOP at the crease

The AOP policy manifesto sums up key changes that the membership organisation is advocating for

11 Jul 2019 by Selina Powell

There is a loosely defined period in the final throes of a limited-overs cricket match when players have the opportunity to prove their mettle.

In the characteristically quaint language of a sport where players break for tea and the umpire doubles as a hatstand, this moment is called the death.

Bowlers capable of restricting runs and taking wickets under immense pressure are given the honour of bowling at the death. If they are lucky they may hear a death rattle – the sound of a wicket being broken when the batsman is bowled.

Growing up in a cricket-obsessed family in New Zealand, a hush would descend over our living room during this period of the game.

A makeshift shrine to the Black Caps sat on top of the television next to the school photographs, surrounded by a pecking order of uncles and cousins with age determining proximity to the screen.

When the game was against Australia the only sound you could hear was the cicadas through the open door and the occasional heckle from my grandmother, in prime viewing position.

While it may not be directly comparable to the final overs of a cricket match, optometry is also facing a pivotal time where the approach taken will have significant implications for the future of the profession.

At a General Optical Council meeting on Wednesday (10 July) where the optical regulator approved five key steers for an overhaul of optometric education, the need for change was a common thread in discussions.

GOC council member David Parkins highlighted that the current approach taken by the profession is not sustainable.

“There’s going to be a sea change in what is required. The hospital is full. They can’t see the patients quickly enough,” he emphasised.

GOC’s interim director of education, Dr Subo Shanmuganathan, stressed the influence of demographic changes, evolving technology and a long period of austerity creating pressures on the NHS.

“Ophthalmologists have had to reconsider how they work and that has created opportunities for the rest of the workforce,” she said.

During this period of transformation, it is important to have a clear vision of how the profession could be in the future.

The AOP policy team has recently distilled its work into a manifesto summarising the key changes the AOP is fighting for.

Strong leadership is important but, like the fielders supporting a bowler or the batter at the opposing crease, the rest of the team also have a role to play.

What do you think of where the AOP has landed with its manifesto? We are always keen to hear your thoughts selinapowell@optometry.co.uk

Image credit: Getty/BrianAJackson

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