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AOP backs members' opposition to degree apprenticeship introduction

The Association’s chief executive, Henrietta Alderman, confirmed the move having canvassed member feedback online

Lady at optometry equipment

The AOP has released a statement from its chief executive Henrietta Alderman that states it supports member opposition to the proposed establishment of a degree apprenticeship in optometry (21 November).

In the statement, Ms Alderman confirmed that “in light of the strong views” that the Association has heard from its members on the issue, it will be opposing the introduction of the degree apprenticeship.

“Your contributions to the debate have raised good reasons to oppose the proposal, including the risks to patient safety, and the potential damage to the credibility of optometrists as key health professionals,” Ms Alderman writes, adding: “Our consultation response, due by 9 December, will make those points powerfully, and we will be seeking follow-up meetings with the various bodies involved in the proposal to ensure our members’ views are heard and taken account of.”

Ms Alderman said that the AOP has recognised the high level of engagement that it has received from its members on the topic.

She noted that the debate had highlighted misunderstandings about the AOP’s involvement in a pan-sector trailblazer group, which has been set up to drive the apprenticeship forward, the process and the proposal. In order to correct these misconceptions, the AOP has released a Q&A document alongside its statement. 

Earlier this month, OT interviewed the chair of the pan-sector trailblazer group, Victoria Unsworth, about the establishment of the degree apprenticeship in optometry. Read the interview on our website

To see the discussion on the proposed degree apprenticeship for optometry, visit the AOP’s community forum.

Image credit: Getty/Visivasnc