Member Update: NEHW 2021 activity

Fee increase discussions in Scottish Parliament

The work of optometrists took centre stage last week as the UK marked National Eye Health Week and Optometry Scotland was proud to see its work discussed in the Scottish Parliament.

A Members Debate took place based on a cross party motion tabled by Stuart McMillan, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde and convener of the cross party group on visual impairment.

As well as thanking members who signed the motion, he thanked Optometry Scotland, RNIB Scotland, Sight Scotland and the RPP Group for their input and went on to highlight the availability of free eye examinations and importance of regular eye tests.

In addition he told fellow Members that Optometry Scotland works well with the Scottish Government and encouraged the continuation of that engagement.

Most crucially of all, the debate raised the important topic of Optometry Scotland’s request for a three per cent fee increase which was mentioned by three members – Emma Harper, Miles Briggs and Sarah Boyack.

In response, Maree Todd, the Minster for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport said: “I assure members that remuneration for the service and a system for reviewing remuneration are under active consideration. I am absolutely confident that we will reach a mutually agreeable solution on that.”

We are exceptionally proud to have the work of Optometry Scotland recognised and praised in the Scottish Parliament.

It is encouraging to see several politicians highlighting our plea for a fee increase.  Earlier this year the Expert Working Group for Primary Eyecare Services policy report explained the importance of this increase in sustaining the integrity of the workforce, quality of service standards and universality of delivery moving forward.

Optometry Scotland welcomes the promising response from Maree Todd MSP and looks forward to ongoing, productive discussions with the Scottish Government.