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Prescribing powers

Widen the prescribing powers of optometrists, making it easier for patients

Optometrist putting iodine eye drops into patients' eyes

The current list of entry level medicine exemptions, ie medicines that all optometrists can prescribe, has not been updated since 2005. Due to these restrictions, unless qualified as an Independent Prescriber (IP) optometrists must redirect patients to GPs so that they can be prescribed medications such as anti-allergy drops, anti-microbials, or anti-inflammatory medicines.

A 2021/22 study estimated that the average 9-minute face-to-face GP consultation costs £42.19 By simply widening the entry level medicine exemptions, the existing skills and training of optometrists could be unlocked to reduce pressure on GPs and cut costs.

References

19. Key facts and figures about the NHS
20. Search GP prescribing data