Well, what can I say about 2016? All in all, a pretty surreal year, hallmarked by a series of unexpected events creating shockwaves felt on a global scale.
First of all we witnessed Ed Balls’ inexplicable progression through to the business end of Strictly proceedings, giving hope to all of those among us with two left feet. And then, of course, X Factor’s very own Honey G creating panic within the rapping fraternity resulting from ITV’s attempt to redefine the term ‘gangsta.’ Of course, we should perhaps also mention the political ripples felt on both sides of the pond – a memorable year all round
What surprises may the General Optical Council (GOC) spring as it continues with its strategic education review in 2017? Our regulatory body is likely to take a considered approach to the future educational needs of the profession. Indeed, the GOC has been careful to canvass opinion from a full range of stakeholders to help it understand the successes of CET since the inception of the enhanced cycle in 2013. As the largest CET provider in the profession, the AOP had its feet under the table early on in this process, sharing its take on the successful aspects or otherwise of the changes introduced last time around.
From my perspective, the major success of the enhanced CET cycle must be the introduction of peer discussion, and I am optimistic that the GOC will acknowledge the meaningful interactivity leveraged by this modality going forward.
In anticipation, the AOP will continue to build upon its annual peer discussion roadshow, traversing the UK to deliver thought-provoking clinical scenarios to many hundreds of practitioners.
The AOP’s legal team will also take to the road offering practitioners the chance to ask those all-important questions relating to the challenges they face in day-to-day clinical practice.
Further opportunities for peer discussion will be on offer at the AOP’s flagship event, 100% Optical, 4–6 February, London. The extensive programme will bring together the leading lights from academia and ophthalmology, alongside contributions from forward-thinking optometrists and dispensing opticians.
"The AOP will continue to build upon its annual peer discussion roadshow, traversing the UK to deliver thought-provoking clinical scenarios to many hundreds of practitioners”
In addition, the AOP will host a full day of bespoke education for pre-registration students, helping them to prepare for the final steps to qualification. 100% Optical continues to evolve year-on-year and 2017 will see tailored sessions for optical support staff, providing an opportunity for the whole practice team to attend en masse. Outside of education, a highlight of the show will be the AOP Awards ceremony, taking place on the Sunday evening.
For those with a preference to further their professional development from the comfort of their own armchair, the AOP will build upon its delivery of webinars, in addition to offering an extensive range of distance-learning CET options through OT with video content, articles and visual recognition tests throughout the year.
In response to requests from members, 2017 will see the launch of new events to meet the specific needs of locum optometrists and also provide support those with an interest in paediatric optometry. The AOP’s therapeutics event will also return in the autumn with content targeted at those with an interest in therapeutics or involved in delivering enhanced services.
Although it may be difficult to predict the twists and turns of 2017, the AOP will be on hand to support the needs of its members throughout the year as the profession continues to embrace the changes that lie ahead.
For more information about the AOP’s events programme, visit the website.