Firstly, I’d like to congratulate the people who have decided to put this platform together as I feel optometrists (employed or locums) need someone to represent their views. I feel the current bodies (AOP & GOC) are heavily influenced/controlled by big businesses in this sector – its time these bodies took more notice of the Optoms actually performing the work.
A couple suggestions:
1. Why is this restricted to locums only? Surely employed optoms have worse conditions (pay structure, pressure to sell, wearing uniforms, etc) than locums. In order to achieve anything you will need to engage with these employed Optoms also – these employed Optoms may feel an organisation named The Locum Union is not for them.
2. Simply saying we should be paid more is pointless. The rate of pay is determined by supply & demand. I read an article once in Optometry Today I believe it was within the last 2 years – I think it was called “Sign of the Times” – the gist of this article was optoms need more than 20minutes to perform a proper eye test. Most optoms will agree that if you have more time with a patient the quality of service you provide will increase.
I think you should unify optometrists behind a minimum test time of 35 minutes. Firstly it doesn’t make us look greedy for money & secondly we are doing something that will improve patient care. A case for minimum test times needs to be put in front of the GOC – and they need to make it regulation – its unlikely they will as they are heavily influenced by the big corporates. However if you can get public support behind you then the GOC will be under some pressure to act – after all the GOC was set up to protect the public.
Obviously if test times are increased from 20 to 30 mins – each optom can perform fewer eye tests in a day – then demand for our services goes up.