Frontline eyecare services were in focus today as Scotland’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman visited one of OS newest members. Ms Freeman was in Kilmarnock to meet with the team at Urquhart Opticians, the award-winning group whose heritage dates back more than a century and today offers state-of-the-art eyecare services to patients across Ayrshire.
The group is also part of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s Eyecare Ayrshire initiative, a partnership set up in 2017 which sees local optometry practices provide a ‘first port of call’ and on-the-day appointment service for any eye-related concerns.
Optometrist and director of Urquhart Opticians Alistair Duff B.Sc (Hons), MCOptom welcomed Ms Freeman and NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s Optometric Advisor Catherine Taysum to the Kilmarnock practice.
Mr Duff commented: “We are delighted to welcome the Health Secretary to our flagship Kilmarnock practice and join Ms Freeman in highlighting the role played by Scotland’s network of independent opticians in delivering frontline NHS eyecare.”
As well as touring the practice, meeting the team and speaking with patients, Ms Freeman also took the opportunity to see in action Urquhart Opticians new Optical Coherence Tomography scanner, a service which builds up a three-dimensional image of the retina and optic nerve, enabling optometrists to identify potential problems at a far earlier stage in a painless non-intrusive manner.
Ms Freeman commented:
“There is no doubt that community optometry practices, like this one, are providing excellent care and support for patients across Scotland. There is significant potential to deliver even more eyecare services in the community, and that is exactly the right approach for patients.
“Everyone in Scotland is entitled to regular, free NHS-funded eye examinations. An NHS funded eye examination, provided by our highly skilled eyecare professionals, is about more than just checking your vision. It can help identify early signs of a range of sight-threatening conditions and I want to stress the importance of taking advantage of these.”
Optometry Scotland vice-chair, Julie Mosgrove attended the constituency visit on behalf of OS and we look forward to a further meeting with the Cabinet Secretary in the coming weeks.