Specsavers co-founder Doug Perkins will kick off the main stage programme at 100% Optical on Sunday with a call for the optical profession to work together to neutralise the threats it faces and to assume its true role as the GP of the eyes.

Doug will be joined by Paul Morris, Director of Professional Advancement, for the CET-accredited session, Commissioning the future: what optometry needs to do next.

Two years since he first spoke at 100% Optical on the disruptive changes facing optometry, Doug will outline the continuing challenge of technological, demographic and political change. In this context, he will say, the advancement of enhanced optical services has been good but not great.

Setting out the barriers to advancement, he will say that they cannot be overcome without optometrists, their representative bodies, Specsavers and the major companies all working together.

‘We all have the same gains from advancement,’ he will argue. ‘We will need good leadership and a big budget to not only move forward but to prevent ourselves being removed entirely from primary care.’

An optometrist himself for more than 50 years, Doug is optimistic about the new generation of optometrists.

He will say, ‘The good news is that they are massively enthused by a different career structure with a full scope of primary care services. It is of course the primary healthcare career they thought they were training for. I believe employers, particularly the corporates, have to help them more to get the training and experience required for enhanced services. The young optometrists I meet each year at the College graduations have done their bit in graduating with enormous loans. Let’s do our bit for them.’

More than a year on from Specsavers’ investment in a partnership with community ophthalmology provider Newmedica, Doug will say that ophthalmology has to be part of the move forward.

‘There is no reason why ophthalmology belongs in large hospitals. If we provide the maximum enhanced services under community ophthalmology this will be very efficient. There is no purpose in competition at this level and of course we all want the guarantee that our patients will be dealt with independently and will return to our practices as quickly as possible.

‘This is what being the GP of the eyes really means, taking the stress away from the GP and the hospitals and providing a better service for the patient.’


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CET and career opportunities on Specsavers stand

More three-pointer CET sessions with more places than in 2017 will run on the Specsavers stand at 100% Optical. Although all sessions apart from the quizzes are now fully booked, it is still worth turning up in case of no-shows.


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Adam Wannell will lead a discussion workshop on best practice in the integration of clinical data to improve decision making in cases of suspected glaucoma

Specsavers’ professional recruitment colleagues will also be on the stand throughout the three days to meet delegates who are interested in finding out more about career and partnership opportunities.