College of Optometrists maintains fees for seventh year while providing an increased range of benefits

More than 15,000 members of the College of Optometrists will benefit from a fee freeze for a seventh consecutive year. During this time the membership offering has increased considerably, with the annual number of CET events offered more than doubling, enhanced access to clinical advisers and increased efforts to improve public trust and confidence in the profession.

The new membership year, beginning on 1 October, will see a new opportunity for members, organisations and the public to support the College’s research work. The College has played a vital role in some of the most important optometric research completed in the UK, providing millions of pounds in financial support for projects in order to develop the evidence base. It is now inviting donations to allow individuals and organisations to play a part in our work to develop evidence that is capable of advancing the profession, reduce preventable vision loss and providing accessible, high quality, eye care for all.

The College has provided hundreds of thousands of pounds in small grants, travel bursaries and collaborative awards – from summer scholarships for undergraduates and post graduate scholarships for those completing PhDs to travel bursaries, new lecturer and other small grants for hospital-based research and members working in practice. The new approach will allow the College to continue working in these areas, while developing and extending the scope of the research it supports.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research, said: “This is an exciting time for research at the College, with a number of big projects coming to fruition and many others underway. Now the profession has the opportunity to show its support for our research work by contributing to the Research Fund, which will help us build on all the great work done, and help develop the optometric research, and researchers, of the future. The College has benefitted in the past from some extraordinarily generous support from members of the profession, which has in turn benefitted the public and the wider profession. We’d like to make it easier for members of the College and wider optical sector to get involved with this area of our work in this way.”

To contribute to the Research Fund, visit the College’s donation page: http://www.college-optometrists.org/en/research/research-fund/

This membership year also sees the introduction of the new Member Code of Conduct, which demonstrates to patients and peers that College members have committed to the highest clinical ethical, ethical and professional standards.

The College’s new membership year starts on 1 October 2016. Member rates remain unchanged with discounts for newly-qualified, non-practicing, part-time and overseas members.

More information on College membership and how to join can be found at www.college-optometrists.org/benefits.