9 July 2024

College welcomes new Government and urges eye health to be prioritised

The College has offered its congratulations to Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on their success in the General Election and on forming the next UK government.

With a new government comes a new opportunity to increase the focus on healthcare. In an open letter to Wes Streeting MP, the College urged the Department of Health and Social Care to prioritise eye health, and to establish optometrists as the first port of call for anyone with an eye care issue.

Over 600,000 people on NHS waiting lists to begin ophthalmology treatment in England

There are over 600,000 people on NHS waiting lists to begin ophthalmology treatment in England, making it one of the largest contributors to the NHS backlog. 

Optometrists have an essential role to play in helping to cut NHS waiting times and improving patient outcomes. The College is ready to continue working with Ministers and Government departments to make this a reality.

The College's manifesto

The College’s letter underlines its own manifesto for change in tackling the eye care crisis in England, which sets out its key priorities to:

  • enable optometrists to provide more care to patients closer to home
  • prioritise a better-connected NHS and unlocking the potential of new technologies
  • support the optometry workforce to develop specialised skills.

Labour's manifesto

The Labour Party Manifesto offered a commitment to allow healthcare professionals, such as opticians [optometrists], to make direct referrals to specialist services or tests, as well as expanding self-referral routes where appropriate. 

The College looks forward to working with the new government to make this a reality. To ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place and at the right time.

Find out more

Related further reading

Olivier Denève, College Head of Policy & Public Affairs, heralds a new era in UK politics and calls for action to end the eye care crisis.

A glance at what’s happening in the world of technology.

Eye health issues that are making the news.