Simon Jones: The public purse

Despite high patient satisfaction, could cost-of-living impacts turn the tables?

After high street optometry stood up to be counted during the coronavirus pandemic, it was pleasing to see the General Optical Council’s latest data from its 2022 public perception research showed overwhelming public confidence in the profession, with 94% of the respondents saying they were satisfied with their visit to the optometrist in the past two years.

But data can be a funny old game, as evidenced in the latest annual report from the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS). The report, which we will cover in depth next week, found the overall number of complaints received between April 2021 and March 2022 increased by 21.5% when compared to the same period in 2020-2021. In addition, complaints received by the GOC and then referred on to the OCCS because they did not meet impaired fitness to practise thresholds increased by 117% and made up 5% of the total number of complaints received by the OCCS.

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