Optics poised to reduce pressure on NHS this winter

AOP responds to Government’s Winter Plan for England

The Government today unveiled plans for managing the impact of COVID-19 in England, including contingency measures if the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed this winter.

Responding to the announcement, Adam Sampson, Chief Executive of the Association of Optometrists said: “All the way through the pandemic our members have stepped up to support the NHS in delivering vital eyecare to patients – freeing up capacity across NHS departments. Frontline health and care workers in hospitals will be under pressure to respond to COVID-19 and flu if numbers rise rapidly this winter. Our highly skilled workforce is poised to help protect the NHS by taking on work which can be done outside hospitals.

“Optometrists have a proven track record providing services that mean patients get access to the care and treatment they deserve. Our members who are based on the high street are in a unique position to offer community-centric eyecare that is easy and convenient for all. Utilising eyecare professionals in this way is a vital tool to reduce waiting list times for all NHS patients who need eyecare”.

During the pandemic, the COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES), which provides extended eyecare services in the community, was widely commissioned and has been shown to successfully reduce pressure on hospital eye departments across the UK, as reported in Nature.

Last week, the AOP called for consistent commissioning of extended eye care services in order to improve patient care and better utilise the skills of eyecare professionals in our statement on the new Health and Care Bill.


For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

An image of Adam Sampson, AOP Chief Executive is available via this DropBox folder.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 82% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit