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OS Press Release - Recognition of the Value of Community Optometry and work of OS

Picture of Frank Munro (OS Executive Member), Fiona McLeod (SNP MSP), David Bonellie (OS Vice Chair), Debbie McGill (OS Office Manager)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.

OS Press Release on independent prescribing for opticians

Picture of Frank MunroLocal optometrist, Frank Munro, based in the south side of Glasgow can now independently prescribe licensed eye-related medicines direct to his patients under the NHS without them having to visit their GP. The Primary Care Division of the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Integration Directorate enacted the new prescribing legislation, which gives independent prescribing rights to optometrists, in September this year.

Frank had to complete an approved training course and list on the Optometrist's Register as an Independent Prescriber (IP) in order to prescribe under the NHS and to give his patients the full care they need for eye-related issues. Writing his first prescription on his new NHS pad, Frank Munro of Frank Munro Opticians, said: "It’s a great opportunity for all optometrists to progress their skills but also for them to offer their patients complete care. They can treat their patients and medicate them at their practice without having to involve a GP or refer to a hospital."

Sam Watson, Chair of Optometry Scotland, said: “This really is a step forward in terms of professional skills development within the optometry sector in Scotland."

For full details see Optometry Scotland press release (December 2013) below.

NES takes over competency certification from Optometry Scotland from 1 June 2013

In February 2013, Optometry Scotland temporarily took over the management of competency certificates from the defunct Acuity (formerly the Scottish Committee of Optometrists), but this responsibility passed to NHS Education for Scotland (NES) on 1 June 2013.

From 1 June 2013 the certification and examining process for competencies in Scotland will only be handled by NES. Any competency certificate requests that are submitted on the OS website will be sent to NES. Optometry Scotland will not be able provide any assistance with competency certificate requests, you will need to contact NES Optomerty by emailing optometry@nes.scot.nhs.uk or by phone on 0131 656 3231.

You can submit a competency certificate request by clicking here.