MESSAGE TO OPTOMETRY SCOTLAND MEMBERS FROM DAVID QUIGLEY, CHAIR OF OPTOMETRY SCOTLAND
These are unprecedented times, and as we continue to monitor developments concerning COVID-19 I bring you an update on the activities Optometry Scotland is undertaking on your behalf.
We have seen a stop to almost all domiciliary services as the Scottish Government strives to protect the most vulnerable in our community. While we fully support moves to protect patient safety, this of course presents our industry with a huge challenge and we are striving to secure a support package that will allow affected businesses to remain viable for the duration of the pandemic.
It has been agreed in principle that we will further serve those in need by posting out completed spectacles and offering post-fitting support by telephone. While we appreciate this is not ideal, it meets the government objectives of minimising contact with those most vulnerable and will allow us to receive Payment Verification confirmation of acceptance/allowance. On a related note we are seeking clarification of routine versus non-routine / emergency cases.
Optometry Scotland is set to meet with the Scottish Government on Tuesday 17th March, and we aim to share the outcome of our discussions by Thursday. Our objective is to act in the best interests of the public while preserving businesses and jobs until we seen an upturn, and preparing for the significant challenges ahead.
We understand that practitioners in high street practices with emptying appointment books will have similar concerns. Please be assured I also intend to raise this point as a matter of urgency.
OS is doing its very best to support its hard working colleagues across Scotland. While I can offer no concrete assurances around outcomes at this stage, I can say that communications with Scottish Government colleagues have been positive, with prompt responses indicating the government is open to exploring the best way to support our sector.
On the issue of COVID-19 protection, we appreciate there are concerns around this and variations between the advice offered on the HPS site and other UK sites. OS colleagues have collated all information and plan to repackage updated advice shortly. In the meantime, please follow all the latest good hygiene practices advised and refer to the Health Protection Scotland site for up to date information.
Please rest assured that, behind the scenes, OS has devoted considerable time to collaborating with colleagues around the UK and other primary care workers to gather the latest information and expertise with a view to achieving the best possible outcome for our sector. We are working hard for you, and are available for you every day during this crisis if you wish to contact us on 0141 202 0610.
We will provide regular updates on any further developments at every possible opportunity.