On 8 January 2014 Fiona McLeod SNP MSP opened a debate in the Scottish Parliament on recognising the value of community optometry. Fiona commended the profession and Optometry Scotland on providing a 'world leading' service and acknowledged that Optometrists are an 'essential part of primary health care'.
The debate received wide cross party support, Aileen McLeod SNP MSP, Rhoda Grant Labour MSP and Nanette Milne Conservative MSP all thanked Fiona for bringing the debate to the chamber and echoed Fiona's comments on the importance of recognising the work done so far.
Speeches also articulated the clear benefits of community optometry providing a service which is accessible, convenient and flexible and recognised the role community optometry plays in the prevention of sight loss and also the management of those with sight loss. The importance of regular eye health checks and their role in early intervention, detection and prevention was highlighted.
Michael Matheson closed the debate by thanking all MSPs for their comments and Fiona for bringing the debate to the chamber which provided the Scottish Government the opportunity to recognise the role of Optometrists and Optometry Scotland. He stressed the Government’s commitment to community based eye care services and commented that the policy is an 'exemplar of the benefits of preventative healthcare'.
Sam Watson, Chair of Optometry Scotland said "We welcome the comments made by all speakers in this important debate and the recognition of the ever increasing standards of care provided by community optometry for the benefit of patients across Scotland. There is still much to do to further raise public awareness of the importance of regular eye health checks as part of looking after their overall health."
For full details see Optometry Scotland press release (January 2014) below.