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Don’t settle for second best

Marketing manager at the AOP, Louisa Cliff, discusses the unrivalled benefits of AOP membership

17 Sep 2018 by Louisa Cliff

At the AOP, we understand that many optometrists who are employed by large, medium and even some small groups may have medical malpractice insurance through their employer’s business. These optometrists may, from time to time, question whether they need their own individual AOP cover too.

We are confident we offer the best package and the best value for money. Crucially, our members overwhelmingly agree as the results of our recent member benefits survey, with responses from over 2000 members, demonstrate. 

Members told us that the AOP outperforms other organisations across a range of benefits, including medical malpractice insurance, legal support and value for money:  

  • Over 95% said they feel protected and have peace of mind with the AOP
  • Over 90% said they feel supported, with the AOP providing the resources they need
  • Over 80% said they feel membership is good value for money
  • 98% said they were likely to renew their membership this year.  

While some optometrists may be tempted by the cover afforded by an employer’s insurance, it’s well worth taking the time to weigh up the pros and cons of the entire membership package. This is why we’ve launched our Don’t settle for second best campaign which aims to highlight the added value our members get, and the risks optometrists may be exposed to if they don’t consider the importance of individual membership.

How we compare 

Where some providers may protect the business first, the AOP’s only concern is individual optometrists.

Our in-house legal team works solely for our members, offering support and unrivalled defence to ensure their best interests are served. Our employment law team support employers and employees and will also secure union support for members when necessary to ensure their rights in the workplace and secure fair outcomes at disciplinary and grievance procedures. 

For claims made on insurance and indemnity cover, most other providers will charge an excess. With the AOP, if you follow our advice, we won’t charge an excess. And if you are a practice owner, if all your optometrists are AOP members, we offer vicarious liability cover for the whole team as standard – that means no extra cost.

For more information about these and all of the AOP's member benefits, visit its website. 

Case study

An AOP member, who was supported by the Association through a GOC investigation explains in their own words why they value our legal expertise so much

"I’ve been a member of the AOP since graduating over 25 years ago. The GOC opened an investigation into me in 2016 because I’d made a declaration about my personal circumstances on my GOC renewal. They followed up on this and told me I was being investigated for misconduct. 

"When I found out I was under investigation I felt anger, disbelief. Would the GOC really do this, why now? I’d been honest, but I’d been naïve. 

"I was worried about the effect of the investigation on my own reputation and how that might affect the people I work with. The penny dropped how serious this was when I realised I could lose my job.  I should have spoken to the AOP first. 

"As soon as I contacted the AOP, I had a real sense of being a priority. They made me feel more positive, that everything was going to be ok. My solicitor got an extension on the GOC’s deadline and then helped me pull together a cast iron case in my defense. 

"There are a million reasons to join the AOP. The cost is a drop in the ocean when you consider that it’s almost inevitable in our profession that we will have to handle a complaint"

"You can’t think straight when you’re under so much stress, but with my AOP solicitor’s support I compiled detailed evidence from the previous 10 years to show that I was fully capable and had a successful career going back many years, including receiving peer recognition of my work. My boss wrote a testimonial in support of me too; there was no evidence of my personal situation ever affecting my fitness to work. 

"The case went on for about a year. I know I’m one of the lucky ones as sometimes the investigation can go on for years. 

"After the AOP got involved and helped, it came to an abrupt end. The case was thrown out. I felt immense relief almost immediately.

"My advice to any practicing optometrist would be to always talk to the AOP before declaring anything to the GOC or your employer. They are the experts, they have your best interests in mind and will have an understanding of consequences that may not occur to you.

"There are a million reasons to join the AOP. The cost is a drop in the ocean when you consider it’s almost inevitable in our profession that we will have to handle a complaint. In an increasingly litigious society the AOP give peace of mind. Rather than worry, get the AOP on your side –  they do a magnificent job." 

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