Following last night’s government advice (23 March) a joint statement has been released today (24 March) by the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC), Optometry Scotland, Optometry Wales and Optometry Northern Ireland.
It confirms that optical practices in the UK providing urgent and essential eye healthcare are key health services and should continue to function where possible during the Covid-19 crisis.
Read the statement in full on the ABDO Covid-19 advice page here.
On 23 March, ABDO president, Clive Marchant, wrote to all members to inform them of what was being discussed with NHS England (NHSE) on the delivery of eye health care during the current situation. He explained that the OFNC expected that optometrists, contact lens opticians, dispensing opticians and optical assistants would be recognised as key workers for practices – and would be able to remain open to provide essential and urgent eyecare.
Clive added: “With regards to PPE, we put the case forward to government representatives for optical practices to be issued with this resource two weeks ago but we have been informed that there has been supply issues in the hospitals (who are the priority) receiving this and they are not expecting to be able to provide these resources to optical practices throughout the UK in the short term.”
“We understand this update does not answer all of the questions members have in the current situation but we hope it assures you that ABDO is working in your best interest to support all of you in maintaining the delivery of essential and urgent eyecare, those of you that have had to close or will need to close during this unprecedented time,” he concluded.