Patient-first approach focused on primary care is needed by the next government

The AOP responds to the announcement of a general election on 4 July

The Government has announced a general election will be held on 4 July 2024. As political parties prepare to launch their manifesto promises, health remains a battleground for campaign pledges. The AOP is calling for a renewed focus on primary care systems, which must be made a priority for the next government to transform healthcare for patients.

Adam Sampson, AOP Chief Executive, said: “The upcoming election has come at a critical point and the next government will need to take swift, but crucially efficient, action to address the cracks in our healthcare system. With the growing strain on secondary care, our Sight won’t wait campaign has been clear: cutting waiting times should be at the forefront of any new Government’s plans – and this has to include the ophthalmology backlog. We need to optimise optometry to reduce the growing pressure on secondary care and GPs.

 “Optometry is primed and ready to reduce the pressure on services which are buckling under the demand – too often at the expense of patients. Healthcare that is patient-first needs to be a priority and that means the consistent commissioning of clinical care in the community that is convenient, quicker, and closer to home. We need to end the postcode lottery of eye care in England.

The King’s Fund highlighted the dismal lack of investment in primary care as one of the biggest failings in healthcare policy. A derisory uplift to the GOS contract of 1.68% is a reminder of the challenge ahead. The next government must shift the focus from secondary to primary care if we are to meet the ambition to transform the patient experience, tackle disease prevention, and achieve better health outcomes. This investment needs to include getting the basics right, such as improving IT connectivity between optometry and ophthalmology.”


Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the voice of the optical profession, representing over 80% of practising optometrists. The AOP elevates the work of its members, safeguards their interests, and champions eye health across the UK. For more information, visit