AOP support

Placing optometrists at the heart of primary care

The AOP’s five-year strategy seeks to build the external influence of the organisation as a leading voice championing the eye health agenda

women at desk
The AOP has encouraged members to get involved in plans to enhance the public profile of the profession, as part of a broader vision for the future of the membership organisation.

In June, the AOP launched its five-year strategy, which outlined the ambitions and priorities of the membership organisation from 2022 to 2026.

The strategy outlines a roadmap for the membership body’s work to “secure the present and shape the future” of optometry.

The AOP has encouraged members to take the time to read through the AOP Strategy, which illustrates the key projects and actions proposed by the organisation, to meet its key aims.

Shaping future activity

On the release of the strategy, Adam Sampson, AOP chief executive, shared: “Our strategy may be bold and aspirational, but it also comes at a time of real urgency. The future of eye care across the four nations of the UK has never been more malleable, and it is vital that we prepare for the seismic changes ahead – and do so without delay.”

Sampson added: “Our members have a role to play at the very heart of the primary healthcare system as expert medical professionals alongside dentists, pharmacists and GPs, all of whom are playing a critical role in supporting the NHS and its mounting backlog in secondary care.”

The AOP’s strategy centres around five key pillars that will drive the activities of the organisation over the next five years: creating a vision for legislation and regulation, building external influence and policy making, the AOP’s role in the future of healthcare, economics in the optical sector, and the AOP’s future business model.

As a values-led organisation, in the strategy it states that the AOP seeks to be “influential, dedicated, expert, and principled.” Through this, the AOP aims to achieve its core purpose to “serve, protect and promote the interests of members and, through them, the UK’s eye health.”

To achieve the goals set out in the strategy, the AOP has created a five-year roadmap to success, ensuring members will be supported and have a voice in the direction of the profession.

Raising the profile of the profession

As part of the AOP’s five-year strategy of building external influence and policy making, the organisation highlighted the need to extend and expand its influence within the sector and externally to system leaders and the wider population.

This would support its aims to raise awareness of, and promote, the optometry sector’s activities, the AOP shared, in the face of health reforms, innovative technologies, regulatory changes and clinical advancements.

Plans to achieve this include market research into how members view the future of the profession, and to better understand the public perception of optometry.

The organisation also aims to build relationships with employers, peers and policy influencers to deliver opinion leadership as a lead voice in the primary care sector. Linked to this, the AOP aims to develop its public affairs work to better inform and influence members of government.

The AOP is encouraging members to get in touch if they would like to be involved in activities to raise the profile of the profession.

This can range from hosting MP visits to participating in media activities as a voice for the AOP and the profession.

Members interested in supporting the AOP’s work can get in touch with John White, AOP communications director, at [email protected].

The AOP’s five-year strategy can be read in full online at: