General election 2024

AOP puts forward three priorities for next government

Extending the scope of community eye care services, widening prescribing powers and investment in IT infrastructure put forward as key asks

A close up of a woman with dark hair and green eyes wearing a pair of spectacles with black frames
Pixabay/Paul Diaconu

The AOP has put forward three core priorities for an incoming government ahead of the general election on 4 July.

The policy recommendations include extending the extent of community eye care services, such as glaucoma monitoring schemes, Minor Eye Care Services and Community Urgent Eye Services.

The association has also called for an expansion of the prescribing powers of all optometrists through an update of the ‘entry level exemptions’ list of medications. This list has not been updated since 2005.

AOP chief executive Adam Sampson reflects on the progress made by the eye health sector ahead of the general election in his blog.


Lastly, the AOP urges the next government to invest in IT infrastructure that would enable large-file image sharing and real-time communication between clinicians in primary and secondary care.

The three key priorities are contained within Visionary change in eye health, with a more detailed summary of the policy recommendations available on the AOP website.

Chief executive of the AOP, Adam Sampson, emphasised that the election comes at a critical time for the NHS.

“It is essential that everyone has access to high-quality, specialist eye care when they need it, close to home. With an ophthalmology waiting list of over 600,000, and mounting pressure on GPs services, the next government will inherit a healthcare system under great strain – but the opportunities to address the problems do exist,” he said.

“Investment in primary care will be a critical component of the solution, and we argue that the untapped resource within optometry, with the right level of support, has a vital role to play,” Sampson highlighted.

The key priorities follow the launch of the One Million Appointments campaign, which highlighted the millions of GP appointments that could be saved by redirecting patients into the appropriate, specialist services within optometry.