Frank Munro on the unhidden potential in optometry

31 January 2022
Winter 2022

Frank Munro FCOptom, GOC Scottish Registrar, on how optometrists have increased their relevance, influence and capabilities in Scotland and beyond.

Frank Munro FCOptom has played a pivotal role in UK – and particularly Scottish – optometry. He has been a President of the College, Chair and co-founder of Optometry Scotland, Chair of the UK Optometric Therapeutic Steering Group and Chair of the Scottish Committee of Optometrists. He is Area Optical Lead for Lanarkshire and Acting Optometric Adviser for Lanarkshire, and has just stood down as Chair of the NHS Education Scotland (NES) advisory board. And that’s all while being a practising optometrist with six practices across Glasgow and Lanarkshire. 

So with that “big picture” background, his response to a question about his most significant professional interests doesn’t really come as a surprise.

“It has to be service development, and particularly development of primary care services so that practitioners in the community can work to their full potential,” Frank says.

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was involved in a lot of small projects that came together, including a review of community eye care services to allow the Scottish Government to introduce GOS [General Ophthalmic Services].

“If you look at optometry services prior to 2005, optometrists managed 20% to 25% of acute eye problems in the community. By 2008, that number was more than 80%. That came about because we trained people and made them realise they can make better use of their skills.”

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