ONI Chair, David Barnes headed a team of four representatives from ONI, which attended the Four Nations meeting in Glasgow on Thursday. The Four Nations meet every eighteen months to discuss developments in optometry in different regions of the UK.
Representatives attending the meeting included Optometry Scotland, Optometry Wales, Optometry Northern Ireland, AOP, LOCSU, FODO, the College and the Association of Optometrists Ireland.
The first evening’s agenda included updates from all areas, with the following morning’s agenda including members concerns and areas for development.
It was great to see how Independent Prescribing is progressing in Optometry Scotland (40 optometrists gaining the qualification each year at university). This is in addition to the hundreds whom have already got it. They have also had success in their “Teach and Treat” clinics.
IT continues to be a challenge for all nations. Some have patchy connectivity, others are wrestling with development of the encryption software and some are encountering resistance from other eye care stakeholder groups. One practice in Scotland until recently didn’t even have a ‘phone!
Smoking cessation was also discussed, with practitioners in one region being paid a fee for every patient they refer to smoking cessation clinic, who has a successful outcome.
ONI were able to tell other nations that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” regarding the electronic processing of GOS payments. We also told them about the SPEARS pilot, as well as the success of the Glaucoma Referral Refinement scheme.
The public health agenda was also discussed, with particular reference to falls.
All in all – it is amazing what you can pack into a short space of time!