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02 June 2023

Primary eye care bucks the trend again

New General Optical Council (GOC)
research shows that public satisfaction with primary eye care remains high.

The GOC found that 94% of respondents who had a sight test/eye examination in the last two years were satisfied with the optometrist who carried it out.

It also reported that 92% of respondents had confidence in receiving a high standard of care from an opticians/optometrist practice. This compares with 85% for pharmacy, 81% for dental practice/surgery and 79% for GP practice/surgery.

The research also shows that a growing number of people who wake up with an eye problem will seek support from primary eye care rather than their GP. In 2015, only 19% of people reported they would visit their optician first. Today, this is 49% of people in Northern Ireland, 46% in Scotland, 39% in Wales, and just 30% in England.

Steve Brooker, GOC director of regulatory strategy, said: "The profession should be proud that public satisfaction and trust levels remain high, and I would like to thank all our registrants for their continued hard work and commitment.

"An important milestone is that for the first time since we began this research in 2015, more people would first visit an opticians or optometrist practice with an eye problem than a GP practice or surgery."

Harjit Sandhu, FODO managing director, said "At a time when public satisfaction with healthcare is at a record low, this GOC survey shows how primary eye care services buck the trend again and remain high-quality and responsive to patient needs. The national sight-testing and case-finding service is at the heart of this success - it continues to deliver world-class responsive eye care.

"We also see that consistent and accessible enhanced eye care schemes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have driven behaviour change, with fewer people likely to visit their GP for an eye problem. In England, the fragmented way of commissioning enhanced services is a disbenefit to patients, GPs and wider NHS. That is why we are supporting pan-ICB and multi ICB commissioning of enhanced primary eye care services as set out in Principles and Priorities from primary eye care."

Read the complete 2023 public perceptions research on the GOC website.



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