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Optical Confederation News

We have created a permanent page for additional news of visits by MPs to local communities in an attempt to create an ongoing campaign to reduce the high level of avoidable sight loss in the UK. The Optical Confederation helps Local Optical Committees co-ordinate open sessions with their local MPs.

January 2015

Local MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests.

Local MP for Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma visited King’s Opticians in Southall on Friday, 16th January 2015 to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Practice Owner, Tejinder Johal explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:

“An eye test is not just a check to see whether you need glasses or not, but is also a means of ensuring your eyes are healthy. An eye test can pick up other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes so they are an important health check for everyone. Many eye conditions such as glaucoma are treatable and in many cases sight loss can be prevented if they are detected early enough.”

Commenting on his visit, Virendra Sharma said:

“Regular check-ups are key to maintaining good health, and something nobody should ignore. As a member of the Health Select Committee we are always discussing ways to help our overstretched A&E services. I will be encouraging a public awareness campaign on eye tests to help reduce pressures on NHS staff. King’s Opticians is a great example of how a business can be part of the community”

December 2014

Newcastle MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests.

Newcastle upon Tyne North MP, Catherine McKinnell, visited Michael Offord Optometrist in Kingston Park, on Friday 28th November, in her constituency to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

1.8 million people in the UK are living with sight loss and this figure is set to increase by 115% to nearly 4 million people by 2050, largely due to the ageing population (1). There are 7,300 people living with sight loss in Newcastle alone.

Around one hundred people start to lose their sight every day, yet around half of them could have their vision saved through the early detection and treatment of eye problems, with regular eye tests being a simple and practical way to maintain good eye health and look after your eyes.

Optometrist Deborah Brierley, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:

'We were delighted to have the opportunity to show Catherine around our practice, and explain the role of Optometrists in eye health care. Here at Michael Offord Optometrists we recognise the importance of maintaining good eye health and so are committed to investing in the latest equipment to enable us to continue to provide an excellent quality of eyecare. Which makes us well placed to take part in shared care schemes, enabling patients to be cared for in the community rather than in secondary care, with all the advantages that affords. Having regular eye checks is hugely important for everyone- not just for those who need glasses! An eye examination not only tests how well you can see but also checks the health of your eyes. Many eye conditions are very treatable if they are diagnosed early. An examination can even pick up some general health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure.'

Commenting on her visit, Catherine McKinnell said:

“Far too often, we take our eyesight for granted – but it’s so important that we look after our eyes properly through regular tests.

“My visit to Michael Offord Optometrist was absolutely fascinating, and I learnt so much about the new testing technologies available to help prevent sight loss.

“I also heard how this small, local business is working closely with others across the NHS to provide excellent patient care, and save the NHS money in the long-term.”

June 2014

Local MP for Enfield North, Nick De Bois visited Gordon Thomas Opticians

Local MP for Enfield North, Nick De Bois visited Gordon Thomas Opticians in Enfield on Friday 20th June to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Practice owner and Dispensing Optician, Susan Scaffardi, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests to him.

Commenting on his visit, Nick De Bois said:

“The role of community optometrists and opticians in preventative healthcare is presently underestimated. At Gordon Thomas Opticians, I saw the potential for both improving people’s eye health and helping save money on our hard pressed NHS budget.”

Image: Susan Scaffardi, Practice Owner and Dispensing Optician and Nick De Bois MP .

MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, Chi Onwurah, visited G.T. Harvey & Partners Opticians in Newcastle

Commenting on her visit, Chi Onwurah said, ““So many of us take good eyesight for granted, but we’d be lost without it and it surely deserves a regular visit to the optician. I was pleased to see all the facilities modern opticians have and the contribution they can make to treating many eye conditions as well as often helping to restore self confidence with a suitable pair of glasses.”

May 2014

MP visits Redcar

Local MP for Redcar, Ian Swales visited Campbell & McDearmid Optometrists in Redcar on Friday 23rd May to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Read on further for LOCSU Optical lead, Zoe Richmond’s comments, who also attended the visit as a member of Tees Local Optical Committee, said:

“Tees LOC are committed to continually improve community eye health services for patients. South Tees CCG and their commissioning support unit have worked closely with Tees LOC over recent years, as a result local Optometrists are able to provide improved services to their patients; looking after patients who in the past would have needed to go along to the hospital for management. I was delighted to see a number of patients come along on the day to meet Ian Swales and share their positive experiences of the community optical services.”

Commenting on his visit, Ian Swales said:

“It was great to visit Campbell and McDearmid and hear about the importance of regular eye-testing. With recent experience of eye problems, I can’t stress enough the value of seeing your optician.”
Many groups of people are entitled to free NHS sight tests. These include those aged 60 and over, all children under 16 and those on low incomes. Optical practices are convenient and offer easy access in the local community. You can visit any practice that is either near where you live or where you work. Optical practices can see NHS patients at times that suit them.

More MPs visit local opticians to gain an insight into the role of the optometrists

Local MP for Enfield Southgate, David Burrowes, visited Hammond Opticians in Enfield on Friday 16th May to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Practice Owner, Deven Lakhani, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:
Commenting on his visit, David Burrowes said:

“I was delighted to visit a local opticians in my constituency and to see what is being done to encourage regular eye tests. Eye health is incredibly important and I would encourage my constituents to look at what options are available to them on the NHS and through some work schemes to ensure that they are getting regular check-ups.”

Also MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes MP, visited D.N. White Opticians in Romsey on Friday 2nd May.

Hampshire Local Optical Committee Business Manager, Ian Piper, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests, during the visit:

Commenting on her visit, Caroline Nokes said:

“I would urge all constituents to undertake regular eye tests and protect their eye health.”

David Blunkett Calls on Constituents to Look After Eyesight

Blunkett, previous Labour Minister calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests.

Local MP for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, visited a local optical practice, Frith Park Eye Care, in Sheffield on Friday 25th April in order to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Practicing Optometrist and former Secretary of Sheffield Local Optical Committee (LOC), Philip Banton, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests to him and explained how in Sheffield they are very proud of the additional community eyecare services that are offered. Sheffield LOC and NHS Sheffield have worked closely together over a number of years to develop local Community Eyecare Services. This means they can now deliver eyecare that is over and above the normal examination.
Commenting on his visit, David Blunkett said, “It is vital that everyone takes the opportunity to have their eyesight checked regularly. Not just in case they need glasses or contact lenses, but to also pick up other serious issues like diabetes which can then be treated.

Quite simply, it just makes good sense to get your eyes checked, whenever and wherever there appears to be problem, but it also makes good sense to get them checked even if you don't think you have an issue!”

MP for Hendon Visits Local Practice

Local MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular check-ups
Local MP for Hendon, Matthew Offord visited Boots Opticians in Colindale on Friday 11th April to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Vice-Chair of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Local Optical Committee (BEHLOC) David Burns, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests to the MP on his visit.

Commenting on his visit, Matthew Offord said: “The issue of eye health is very important to me as I know that regular eye checks not only save sight but can also lead to diagnoses of life-threatening conditions. As such opticians play an important role within the Health Service and my visit enabled me to understand better the value of community optometrists and opticians.”

March 2014

What has Devon LOC managed to achieve with MPs visiting local Optician Practices?

• We highlighted national issues such as raising awareness of avoidable sight loss and regular sight testing
• We had the opportunity to utilise the MPs Political influence to push eye care up the agenda both locally and nationally
• We raised the awareness of specific eyecare schemes and what local optician practices can do.

Therefore highlighting the lack of primary care services and to show how efficient and cost effective we are compared to secondary care.

• We had an opportunity to showcase innovative technology in the optical community.

Commenting on the MP visits, Chair of Devon LOC Charles Bill said “we are grateful to all the practices who have hosted MP visits over the past two years. We are excited that all the MPs across Devon are engaged in eyecare and we have seen the benefit of the MPs holding the CCGs to account for their commissioning of local eyecare services. This has been a great success and will help us develop enhanced services across Devon. This will ensure high quality eyecare services across the entirety of Devon.”

MP Quotes

Anne Marie Morris MP (pictured above) said: "It’s a stark statistic that there will be a 115% increase in the number of people living with sight loss by 2050. I’m pleased to support regular check-ups as a means of preventing this number from becoming any larger".

Other MPs have stated that: "we are all guilty of taking our eyes for granted and they are probably one of the things we take the least care of. Constant use of modern technology and life styles can take their toll so it is very advisable to have regular check-ups particularly when many problems are preventable. (Nick Harvey MP)"

and

“Clearly it is in all our interests that more people are treated locally rather than having to travel to hospital so I shall be speaking to my Ministerial colleague the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to ask him to look at ways of encouraging more people to make use of the advances in equipment which many opticians now have. (Hugo Swire MP)”

An MP Roundtable event in Westminster

Oliver Colville MP, Alison Seabeck MP and Ben Bradshaw MP along with the Researchers of Hugo Swire and Nick Harvey joined the Devon Local Optical Committee and Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee for a roundtable discussion on Tuesday 3rd December 2013 to discuss the management and treatment of minor health conditions in community optician practices. It has been agreed that this should be an annual event.

This event resulted in a letter jointly signed by many of the MP across Devon which sent to the two local Clinical Commissioning Groups in Devon highlighting the management of minor eye conditions within Optometric Practice.

Local MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests

Local MP for North Tyneside, Mary Glindon MP, visited J A Hicks Optometrist in North Shields on Friday 14th March 2014 to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.
Practice Owner and member of North of Tyne Local Optical Committee (LOC), Sylvia Bailey, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests to her and she responded after her visit Mary Glindon said:

“I was really pleased to visit J A Hicks and learn about the importance of an eye test, not only to maintain healthy eyesight, but also to detect other possible health issues. This Optometrist is a well established business in North Shields and during my visit I saw first-hand how the staff there provide a great service to local people. I will definitely promote the importance of eye testing whenever I can.”

February 2014

Local MP Adrian Sanders visited Specsavers Opticians in Torquay on Friday 21st February 2014 to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness. 2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss yet over 50% is preventable. However early detection through regular eye tests is a simple and practical way to maintain good eye health and look after your eyes.

Local Optometrist, Josie Forte showed Adrian Sanders around her Opticians Practice in Torquay and explained the health benefits of regular eye tests;

“We were delighted that Mr Sanders accepted our invitation to visit our store. We provided Mr Sanders with information on the latest developments in the industry, along with demonstrating how recent updates in eye examinations could do a lot more locally to relieve some of the pressure on the Health Service.”

NHS Hearcare Services are also currently provided at Specsavers in Torquay. Donna Morgan, Hearcare Director at Specsavers said:

“We are able to break down the barriers and encourage people to regard their hearing in the same way they do their eyesight – giving patients greater access to services through our stores on the high street”.

Commenting on his visit Adrian Sanders MP said:

"It's great to see a locally owned business thriving on the high street and providing footfall for the whole town centre. This is a substantial business employing 30 people working on the front-line of primary health care. Josie's investment plans for the future are a big vote of confidence in Torquay town centre."

December 2013

Local MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests

Local Labour MP for Bolton North East, David Crausby, visited I&M Eye Care on 6th December on Chorley Old Road in Bolton to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

The Chairman of Bolton Local Optical Committee, Matthew Thornton, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:

“An eye test is not just a check to see whether you need glasses or not, but is also a means of ensuring your eyes are healthy. An eye test can pick up other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes so they are an important health check for everyone. Many eye conditions such as glaucoma are treatable and in many cases sight loss can be prevented if they are detected early enough.”

Commenting on his visit, David Crausby said:

“It was interesting to discuss the ways that our local opticians are working with the National Health Service and I was very impressed to learn about the wide range of medical benefits that can come from a simple eye exam.”

The visit was arranged by Bolton Local Optical Committee with the support from the Optical Confederation’s Public Affairs Team.

The attached photo includes (from left to right): David Crausby MP and Optometrist Mohsin Mohamed.

November 2013

Local MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests

Local MP Mel Stride visited Clive Parker Opticians in Bovey Tracey on Thursday 14th November 2013 to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness. Local Optometrist, Clive Parker showed Mel Stride MP around his Opticians Practice in Bovey Tracey and explained the health benefits of regular eye tests;

Commenting on his visit Mel Stride MP said:

“Bovey is very lucky to have a local optician with such a range of services available to local residents. Regular sight tests can pick up early signs of eye conditions before symptoms appear and I would encourage residents to take advantage of having an optician on their doorstep.”

October 2013

Key Health care MP makes a visit to the Opticians

Current Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, visits a local optical practice within his constituency and calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests.

Local MP for Charnwood and current Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, visited Opticare Opticians in Anstey today to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness and to learn more about the enhanced services provided in his constituency.

Optometrists and practice owners Shaishav Shah and Paresh Patel explained some of the benefits of regular sight tests to Stephen Dorrell, such as the detection of eye diseases, like Glaucoma, Cataracts and Retinal Detachments.

Commenting on his visit, Stephen Dorrell said:

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit Opticare. I had an interesting conversation about the changing shape of optical care and the role of optical care in primary care provision.”

Local MP Hugo Swire visited Brian Toye Opticians in Exmouth on Friday 11th October 2013 to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Local Optometrist, Brian Toye showed Hugo Swire MP around his Opticians Practice in Exmouth and explained the health benefits of regular eye tests;

“We could do a lot more to relieve the pressure on the health service if proper arrangements were in place to use our skills and equipment”

Commenting on his visit Hugo Swire MP said:

“Clearly it is in all our interests that more people are treated locally rather than having to travel to hospital so I shall be speaking to my Ministerial colleague the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to ask him to look at ways of encouraging more people to make use of the advances in equipment which many opticians now have.”

August

Latest in a run of visits made over the year is Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton where he visited a local Specsavers practice in his constituency and was welcomed by local optometrist Nicola Burke.

Devon LOC and the OC arranged the visit.

Commenting on his visit Neil Parish MP said:

“Early intervention is vital if we are to stop preventable sight-loss from blighting the lives of thousands unnecessarily. I was delighted to have met Optometrist Nicola Burke and the team here in Honiton, who are helping people have healthier eyes for longer.”

 
 
 
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