Committed to patients

From patient leaflets, to the growth of primary eye care services across the country, optometry has opportunity to embed its value in 2017

Henrietta Alderman

The starting point for everything we do is our patients. Whether we are introducing a new service, offering a particular expertise, buying new equipment or a creating a different user experience – the benefit to patients needs to be clear

In order to put patients first, the practice needs to be confident that it has all the cover it needs to deliver patient care safely – both clinically and through the practice infrastructure arrangements.

The AOP is well known for our medical malpractice/PI insurance, product liability and vicarious liability cover together with associated support. What is less well-known is the support we offer through our affinity partnership with Lloyd & Whyte. 

Lloyd & Whyte has the experience and buying power through also offering practice insurance solutions for dentists, vets, medics and chiropractors to ensure the interests and needs of an optical practice are covered. 

The package includes property damage, business interruption, employer’s liability, public liability, court attendance costs and cyber risk – and if you move to them they will give a 10% reduction on your current premium.

Once the elements for practicing safely are secure, a practice will look to expand and refresh their offering and patient experience to build loyalty. To help with this, the AOP has patient leaflets that cover a range of eye conditions, together with a section on children’s eye health and patient advice on taking care of your eyes. These are excellent resources.

“The AOP is well known for our medical malpractice/PI insurance…[but] what is less well-known is the support we offer through our affinity partnership with Lloyd & Whyte”

Being involved in the growth of primary eye care services also provides an excellent way of building patient loyalty and embedding the practice within the community as the first port of call for eye health issues. The National Optical Conference in November gave practitioners within the local optical committees (LOCs) a clear idea as to the progress and opportunities being developed and examples of good practice around the country.

Although each practice will develop its own unique selling point, dependent on location, patient demographics and specific interests, there is no doubt that working together through the LOCs to secure local contracts is a benefit to all. 

The same can be said generally for optometrists and all the wider associated healthcare professionals involved with eye health and sight loss. This is a far greater challenge, but one which could reap great reward through working in partnership with a greater variety of professional colleagues.

Practice owners face a difficult choice when it is not clear if the income will follow the commitment to working with the wider NHS, but patient need and the lack of capacity in secondary care will surely bring rewards.