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05 August 2022

FODO member update - 5 August

This week:

GOC registrant workforce and perceptions survey 2022

The General Optical Council (GOC) has published the findings of its Registrant Workforce and Perceptions Survey 2022.

Most respondents (62%) report being satisfied in their roles, with improved job satisfaction since last year, but high numbers also say they plan to either leave, retire, or reduce their working hours.

Survey main findings:

  • 50% of respondents said they work part-time, with an average of 30.2 hours a week
  • Part-time work was more common among optometrists, locums, older respondents aged 55+, and female respondents
  • 57% of respondents reported working beyond their hours
  • Key drivers of job satisfaction include enjoying work/finding it rewarding and delivering varied/interesting work
  • While high numbers plan to leave, retire or reduce their hours, these are all significant decreases from the previous year.

View the full report and an accompanying infographic

New video explains GOC education and training requirements

A short video animation from the GOC introduces its latest education and training requirements to ensure optical professionals meet patients' future needs and can respond to rapid change.

The video, which follows a GOC review, describes the new requirements and when they came into effect. They cover everything from optometry and dispensing optics to additional supply and supplementary and independent prescribing.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will all move to the new requirements over the next few years, starting from September 2023. There will be no disruption for students enrolled on an existing GOC-approved optical education/training programme or entering one this year.

FODO director David Hewlett reassured students and encouraged more of them to apply for optometry courses. He said: "There will continue to be growing demand for optometry and dispensing optician graduates to meet growing eye health need and expanding scope of practice. The clinical work is highly attractive, salaries and promotion prospects are good, and there are opportunities for wider roles in leadership in research. FODO members are working with HEIs, the College of Optometrists and the GOC to ensure all current pre-registration optometrists and future students have the training places they need."

View the GOC's FAQs

Webinar to reveal more about latest AMD drug

The latest wet AMD and DMO drug Vabysom (Faricimab) is the focus of the Macular Society's first My Macular and Me webinar on 16 August at 7pm.

Consultant ophthalmologist Ian Pearce, who worked on the clinical trials, will unveil more about the drug, its effectiveness and how to access it. The NHS in England and Wales approved Vabysom for use in May.

Register for the webinar

Health minister backs National Eye Health Week

Health minister Lord Kamall wrote to Lord Low (co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment) on 2 August, reassuring him of the steps the Department of Health and Social Care takes to raise awareness of visual impairment in older people. Among several examples, he said the department promoted eye health and free NHS sight tests for those aged 60 and over during National Eye Health Week.

Learn more

College unveils new vision

The College of Optometrists has revealed details of its planned Workforce Vision activities setting out its ambitions for the optometric workforce and its future. The plans range from a new eye care workforce data modelling project to championing the role of optometrists as first contact practitioners.

Read more

£10 NHS no-show fine ignores real challenge

The BMA and the NHS Confederation have opposed Prime Minister hopeful  Rishi Sunak's proposals to introduce a £10 fine for missed GP and hospital appointments, saying the government should focus on solving long-term issues faced by the NHS.

But Dan Hodgson, FODO's head of policy and public affairs, said: "The root cause of the challenge is that general practices cannot manage everything alone. So, the policy priority in England must be to do more in wider primary care, including opticians. Evidence shows that things change when the NHS invests in primary eye care - GOC research has shown that half of all patients in Scotland would go direct to an optometrist with an eye problem rather than a GP, whereas only 25% would do so in England." 

Research shows regulation disparities lead to systemic unfairness

The second phase of the Nursing and Midwifery Council's Ambitious for Change report on its regulatory processes shows systemic inequalities are driving differences.

Key findings include:

  • More men and Black professionals referred to fitness to practise compared with the NMC register and workforce
  • Most professionals spoken to felt one or more of their diversity characteristics played a part in their referral and were unsupported by an insider-outsider culture.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: "It's essential we recognise people's experiences of discrimination and inequality in health and care, and the devastating impact they have, so we can take practical steps to stop them happening." 

HSIB's interim chief investigator to continue patient safety drive

Dr Rosie Benneyworth started as Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch's (HSIB) new interim chief investigator on 1 August as HSIB splits into two organisations, the Health Services Investigations Body and the maternity Special Health Authority. Dr Benneyworth, formerly chief inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care at the CQC, said she'd continue HSIB's focus on "improving patient safety". 

NHS recommendations on retinal medical treatments

NHS England's latest commissioning recommendations outline increasing demand for medical retinal vascular treatments as the population ages, affecting ophthalmology outpatient services.

A recent procurement exercise was carried out to support the NHS Pathway Improvement Programme by reducing unwarranted variation, maintaining clinical choice and making the best use of NHS resources.

The recommendations show the best value treatment choices for various medical retinal conditions, including options for wet AMD, anti-VEGF and intravitreal corticosteroids, generating financial services that invest in NHS services.

For further information, please email [email protected]

Other sector news

Download ABDO's 2021 annual report on its activities and financial status.

Optical Suppliers' Association shares details of its new E-Health Focus Group.

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