On the ground at the AOP

An explainer on... renewing AOP membership

Suzanne Page, head of membership for the AOP, on why it is important to review the membership grades as part of career planning, and the support and resources available for members

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The two things that any AOP member should consider when the period of membership renewal comes around is: when was the last time that they reviewed the range of grades available, and whether their circumstances have changed.

The two things that any AOP member should consider when the period of membership renewal comes around is: when was the last time that they reviewed the range of grades available, and whether their circumstances have changed.

An individual’s work pattern may change over the course of their career. The AOP grades are designed to support these changes and feed into career and life planning.

This might include members who have started a family and who need to make changes due to childcare needs, or members who are considering buying or starting their own practice. The AOP grades are available to ensure members have the right support in place.

Membership is not only about securing the correct insurance coverage. When renewing for the new year, we would recommend members review all of the benefits available, as well as the content provided online, and ensure they make the most of everything available to support them in their career.

In the membership team, we are always signposting members to information, content and resources that might be helpful for their circumstances, and the support that is available for them. We have recently had a number of franchisees join who were pleased to learn that employment and locum contract templates are available on the website ready for them to use, saving time and money. 

For members who are planning to sell their practice, there is a really useful guide available. We have recommended to a number of practice owners who are planning their retirement and were not sure how to go about selling their life’s work.

The AOP has content tailored towards our diverse membership. AOP webinars provide a wealth of information on topics that can range from economic factors for businesses, to understanding the menopause.

The AOP also has template policies for practices on areas of employment and regulations, such as the menopause policy for supporting employees in their midlife. 

So much work is carried out across the AOP to keep on top of changes in the profession, from General Optical Council (GOC) consultations to developments in industry.

Members can be as active as they would like with the AOP. Periods of turbulence and change are the times to ensure that you have a voice. Membership is an access point to having a bigger voice and impact.

AOP membership ensures members are not standing alone. This is both through the insurance coverage and benefits available to individuals, but also through the collective impact that the AOP can have.

Whatever a member might be experiencing, or the ambitions they have in their career or personal life, there will be someone who has experienced the same thing before. We can learn from others. The AOP, and OT, siphon that information to make it easy for others to learn from.

We recognise the difficult economic conditions and increasing costs that our members are facing. At the AOP, we continue to absorb these financial pressures, and this year are able to do so without passing the cost on to members. I am pleased to confirm that your membership fee will be held at the current level for a further 12 months.

I would encourage members not to leave renewing to the last moment. Get it done and make the most of your membership. It is also worth remembering that, while it might be tempting to think that you could cancel your membership and come back in the future if something comes up, pre-existing matters are generally excluded from new membership, so you might find yourself without support at a very stressful point in your career.

Members of the AOP have until 31 December 2023 to renew membership for the new year. Find all information about membership benefits, grades and rates online.   

Coming up at the AOP

1 Sight won’t wait Winter

The AOP’s Sight Won’t Wait campaign returns with a call for a national strategy for eye care that utilises primary care optometry. Join in at: 

2 Westminster Eye Health Day 11 December 2023

The Eyes Have It, which the AOP is a partner of, will host Westminster Eye Health Day in parliament this month, calling on the Government to take action to prevent avoidable sight loss.

3 100% Optical 24-26 February

The biggest day of the optical calendar approaches. Keep up to date with OT’s regular behind-the-scenes coverage: