Reasons to be cheerful

29 October 2021
Autumn 2021

A message from Colin Davidson, College President.

As we move into autumn, the easing of official restrictions over the summer has seen a gradual return to life on the high street. While things are different from pre-pandemic times, there is a sense of optimism that the worst may be behind us now. The start of the COVID-19 booster vaccination scheme offers more reassurance, and it is good to see that, as healthcare workers, optometrists will be eligible to have this injection.

Speaking of injections, whether optometrists are able to work as injectors or not has been a discussion point for a long time. Many optometrists work in age-related macular degeneration clinics and make decisions around patients who need intravitreal injections for anti–vascular endothelial growth factor therapy. Indeed, some already carry out the procedure, but they are in the minority. Some of our optometric colleagues did great work by volunteering as injectors to help with the COVID-19 vaccination scheme. Our article on intravitreal injectors highlights how optometrists can seek further training to take up this role. 

I have heard from some colleagues who have had to have use their influencing skills in practice throughout the pandemic. 

Some optometrists did great work by volunteering to help with the COVID-19 vaccination scheme

In one of our articles, we examine why it is important to deal with potential difficult situations, ways of initiating these tricky conversations, and how they can lead to positive outcomes for all. 

Looking to the future, the new Health and Care Bill brings changes in the way the NHS operates. The feature on this explores what opportunities this presents for community optometry. Clinical commissioning groups will disappear, to be replaced by an integrated care system. The plan is to move some care away from hospitals and deliver care that is more coherent and flexible to local needs. The hope is that the current fragmented approach to local commissioning will be replaced by something which recognises optometrists’ enhanced scope of practice.

Colin Davidson BSc (Hons) FCOptom DipTp(IP)

Colin currently works part-time for the University of Hertfordshire where he is programme lead for independent prescribing. He also works in independent practice in East Sussex, and at Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton where he works in both A&E and uveitis clinics. He is a senior assessor for the College and an OSCE chief examiner. He is a former member of East Sussex LOC and a current member of the education faculty at the Johnson and Johnson Institute.

Image credit | Caroline Andrieu

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