Don’t be without

OT  hears from Suzanne Page, head of membership for the AOP, on why membership is crucial

business people talking
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As the year draws to its end, the AOP has shared a reminder for members to check their membership status online.

The period for individuals to renew their AOP membership is underway, with a deadline of 31 December 2022.

With this in mind, Suzanne Page, head of membership for the AOP, recommended members log into their MyAOP account to check their membership details before the end of December.

This is also a good time for individuals to review the membership grade they are on, and ensure details such as addresses and communication preferences are up to date.

Once they have checked their status, Page said, “Members can relax safe in the knowledge that they are protected and have all the support they need in place for another year.”

Recognising that recent months have seen pressures in the form of the energy crisis and inflation, Page emphasised the importance of maintaining the AOP membership: “It could be easy to look at your finances and think that perhaps your employer cover would be the same as the AOP membership, but your membership is not a luxury, it is an essential.”

Core to AOP membership is the medical malpractice insurance as well as the legal defence benefit tailored specifically for optometrists and dispensing opticians. If an issue arises, members benefit from the collective experience of the AOP’s team of in-house lawyers and clinical advisers who can offer advice ranging from regulatory and legal matters, to clinical guidance or employment advice and support.

“Without access to our in-house team of experts, members would need to navigate a matter that could have a lasting impact on their career on their own,” she continued. “The likelihood is that a fitness to practise hearing or General Optical Council investigation is your first, but our team do it day-in and day-out.”

“Businesses and locums in particular need the AOP membership now more than ever. You don’t want to miss out on the tailored education solutions available to locums and members employed in a range of practice settings, including hospitals,” Page said.

She added: “If you are a business owner, education is provided to both you and the wider practice team.”

Acknowledging that some may have experienced challenges to their finances in 2022, Page urged members to get in touch, emphasising that having cover is not only required, it is “crucial.”

“If individuals are facing financial problems, the anxiety surrounding these pressures can render them unable to act,” Page said. “We would encourage anyone in this position to reach out to the membership team and we can signpost to potential help.”

“It’s important to talk about these things,” Page said.

More details on the membership grades, as well as contact details for the membership team, can be found on the AOP website. Be aware that during the renewals period, the membership team receives a high volume of queries but endeavours to respond as soon as possible.