Reply To: Time for a proper Optometric Union?


Oh, for a union we all shout, but alas, same as ever, apathy reigns and nout happens. At the very time Honey Rose gets done for manslaughter Boots introduces a new nationwide appointment system / template that reduces the length of time given for most appointments. Contact lens checks are all 20 minutes, as are all children’s appointments. Dilations and recheck are down to 10 and 15 minutes respectively. This flies in the face of the courts findings and the sentiments expressed by the child’s parents. They called for a better quality of optometry to ensure such events didn’t happen again. I fail to see how this new template can do anything other than the exact opposite. It contravenes the agreed guidelines (see AOP) in several areas; it is not adjustable to suit the skill level / experience of individual practitioners / makes no allowance for the fact that locums may need more time due to being unfamiliar with a practice or equipment / makes no provision at all for catch up time, in fact, the exact opposite. This is endangering patients yet is there anyone on this site writing to the GOC about it? It doesn’t appear so. Perhaps nobody on this site works for Boots, or if they do, perhaps they are happy with this onerous and near impossible working regime.
The expectations placed on optometrists (especially locums) is becoming unreasonable and dangerous. We now have to conform to a huge list of expectations / requirements placed upon us by the professional bodies as well as listen carefully to what the pre-screener says to us when they bring the patient into the room, recomendation for all sorts of things are required, hand the patient over to a member of staff, view fundal photographs, be responsible for the care of every patient in the practice (even if just collecting glasses – ALL patients, not just children), be responsible should any harm come to any patient in the practice (even if you haven’t even seen them or were not aware of their presence), oh, and yes you have to perform a thorough and diligent examination for your patients as well. Even 25 minute slots makes it near impossible to do all of the things that are expected of you.
Has everyone that works for Boots signed the recent confirmation to accept their new conditions? If you have you are doing yourself, your patients and your profession a great disservice.
Yes, we need a Union, and the sooner the better.

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