What changes do you see in optometry that the AOP Council can influence?Advances in technology and diagnostic techniques have revolutionised the way we practise, and some believe that this could also pose a threat to our livelihood. The profession is faced with significant challenges with possible changes to regulation, limited NHS resources and increased competition on the High Street and online.
What are the opportunities for the profession?
Optometry can be at the forefront of eye health in delivering new care pathways that provide convenient, accessible services, and NHS commissioners are finally recognising the important role that we can play. It is vital for the sector to safeguard the future of the profession.
How has being an AOP Councillor allowed you to influence decisions?
Being a Council member enables me to share my views and represent the views of colleagues on a variety of issues such as education, regulation and enhanced services. This helps to shape the AOP’s positions when engaging with politicians, commissioners and other organisations within optometry and healthcare.
In addition to serving on the Council, I am also involved with the Independent Practitioners Committee and Membership Committee. Having been an independent practice owner and AOP member for over 25 years, I find it interesting to have direct involvement in helping to develop services and resources for members in practice.
How has the role shaped you?
I enjoy getting out of the practice to meet and collaborate with people from across the sector. This has benefited me professionally in my role as an optometrist and practice owner. Overall, I have learned a great deal from being a Council member and it has been a really rewarding experience.
What would you say to members thinking about joining AOP Council?
Individuals from all modes of practice should consider putting themselves forward to become a Council member to ensure a good balance of representation on the Council. When the eyecare sector is going through a huge transition, being on the AOP Council is an opportunity to have a say in the future direction of the profession.