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27 May 2022

Primary eye care welcomes Fuller Stocktake report


National optical representative bodies have welcomed the Fuller Stocktake report on integrating primary care in England.

In Next steps for integrating primary care: Fuller Stocktake report, NHS England highlights the crucial role that primary eyecare and the other primary care specialisms have played at the heart of communities for generations.

As Dr Claire Fuller, the CEO designate Surrey Heartlands ICS and GP, who led the stocktake, says: "Primary care must be at the heart of each of our new [ICSs]."

The Report aims to help new Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and the place based objectives of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in England to fully utilise the expertise and capacity in primary care, including primary eyecare. For example, by acknowledging optometry and dispensing optics' role in 'making every contact count', including smoking cessation advice in Healthy Living Optical Practices.

However, the review raises concerns about General Practice capacity.

To address these issues, the report sets out a vision for integrating primary care:

  • Streamlining access to care and advice when people need it
  • Providing more proactive, personalised care with support from a multidisciplinary team of professionals
  • Helping people to stay well for longer.

There is also a call for a renewed focus for primary care to do more on prevention of ill health. The report acknowledges that in the NHS, the "majority of our effort is focused on treating people who have already become sick. We need to create a sense of urgency around providing proactive care and improving outcomes for our population".

These are welcome messages for the new ICSs about primary eyecare, which each year sees more than 20 million patients. Prevention, as well as treatment, is what we do. We already provide streamlined access to care and advice, personalised care, and help people see well, preventing falls and sight loss.

ICSs now need to build on this as part of primary eyecare expansion to harness the skills and facilities of neighbourhood optical practices as the first port of call for all eye issues.


Notes to editors

The national optical representative bodies:

ABDO - The Association of British Dispensing Opticians is the professional body for dispensing opticians. Its purpose is to support and represent its members, promote awareness of their roles, enable their professional development and to advance the profession as a whole.

Contact: [email protected]

AOP - The Association of Optometrists is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. It supports over 82% of practising optometrists to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation's eye health. It protects, supports and represents its members throughout their careers.

Contact: [email protected]

The College of Optometrists is the professional body for optometry and supports its members in achieving excellence throughout their careers. It champions the profession, defines best clinical practice, and enables optometrists to develop through high-quality training and qualifications. The College ensures that optometry continues to progress through research, and actively educates and advises the public.

Contact: [email protected]

FODO - The Association for Eye Care Providers - is the leading national association for eye care providers working in primary and community care settings. Each year its members provide over 18 million eye examinations and offer a wide range of other eye care services across the UK.

Contact: [email protected]

LOCSU - LOCSU is the Local Optical Committee Support Unit, supporting Local Optical Committees (LOCs) in England across a range of activities relating to primary eye care. Its work includes policy work, pathway development, commissioning support, governance and compliance support, communication and training.

Contact: [email protected]



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