College of Optometrists publishes report preparing the professions for future challenges

  • 3 Jan 2017

The College of Optometrists has published a summary report following the 'Optical professions: what does the future hold?’ event held in September.

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The roundtable meeting involved stakeholder organisations from across the sector in discussions to prepare the profession for future developments, as highlighted by the recent Foresight and Optical Workforce Survey (OWS) reports.

The resulting report addresses significant issues facing the sector such as the effects of automation, deregulation and the increasing numbers of optometry graduates. The report outlines six essential areas for joint action, listed below:

  • Continuing to press for IT connectivity in England, already begun by the Optical Confederation and the College
  • Plan for potential changes to business models
  • Review education and training as a whole - from university through to CPD which is already being led by the GOC
  • Prepare practitioners for change
  • Look at the requirements for future regulation and governance
  • Examine in more detail the data that suggested a gender pay gap, which the College has begun working on with the AOP.

Michael Bowen, Director of Research at the College of Optometrists, and presenter at the event said; “This meeting was a great starting point in addressing the challenges that await us as a result of emerging technology and a sector that is changing. It’s vital that we, as a sector, are proactive in tackling these issues to make sure that we are prepared. As a next step, we will involve government advisers, as well as industry and business leaders, and the College is looking forward to leading this change.”

Members of the College can download a member briefing providing a breakdown of the report or read our blog on the subject by Clinical Adviser Daniel Hardiman-McCartney MCOptom. 



Notes to editors

  1. The roundtable event was attended by representatives of the following organisations: The Association of British Dispensing Opticians, Association Of Contact Lens Manufacturers, the Association of Optometrists, British Contact Lens Association, the College Of Optometrists, Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians, the General Optical Council, Local Optometric Committee Support Unit, the Optical Confederation, Optometry Northern Ireland, Optometry Schools Council, Optometry Scotland, and Optometry Wales.  
  2. The College of Optometrists is the professional, scientific and examining body for optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit. Supporting its 15,000 members in all aspects of professional development, the College provides pre-registration training and assessment, continuous professional development opportunities, and advice and guidance on professional conduct and standards, enabling our members to serve their patients well and contribute to the wellbeing of local communities.
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