As pressure on GP surgeries mount and patient groups call for better access to doctors, pharmacists are being lined up to assist in relieving this pressure. Optometrists could also play a role in freeing up GPs. This article from the BBC states that pharmacists will need further training before this can happen. However, this is not the case with optometrists, as we regularly treat patients with eye ailments, prescribing medication where required. However what is required is education and communication.
When patients have eye ailments, they need to be encouraged to think optometrist not GP. We’ve covered this topic before in articles about how optometrists can alleviate pressure on A & E departments and we have highlighted how many GPs lack confidence in treating eyes.
I would like to see the optical industry putting similar proposals forwardin Scotland to encourage health professionals across the country to combine with the optical industry to ensure that when people have issues with their eyes, their first port of call is their optometrist.