The Primary Care Division of the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Integration Directorate has advised NHS Health Boards of new legislation to extend independent prescribing rights to optometrists, who are recognised by the General Ophthalmic Council (GOC).
All optometrists in Scotland, who have completed a GOC approved training course and who are entered on the Optometrist Register as an Independent Prescriber (IP), will now be able to prescribe under the NHS. The move will see optometrists given the power to prescribe licensed medicines for ocular conditions affecting the eye and the tissues surrounding the eye so that patients don’t need to visit their GP.
Sam Watson, Chair of Optometry Scotland, said: “Giving NHS prescribing rights to optometrists is another step forward in improving joint working within the NHS between the optometry sector and the primary health care system in Scotland.
“This is another example of shifting and sharing the balance of care and it can only help improve the workflow within the NHS which will benefit and enhance overall patient care.
“At Optometry Scotland it’s important for us to make patients aware that optometrists are the GP for eyes and their practices are fully equipped to provide the best eye care available. We are the first port of call for patients when examining the eyes, detecting deficiency in vision, eye injuries and ocular diseases.
“Introducing optometrists as NHS prescribers will augment quality eyecare for patients and allow easier access across Scotland for eye-related issues. It’s fantastic that so many optometrists are progressing their skills in order to extend the service they offer to patients.”