Awarding the provision of minor eye care services (Mecs) to a single commercial interest would be anti-competitive and not in patients’ best interests, the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) has said in a letter to the NHS, CCGs and independent practices.

The organisation responded swiftly to a letter from Specsavers co-founder Doug Perkins addressed to independent

opticians, which said the multiple intended to bid for NHS and CCG contracts to become ‘the referred source for Mecs patients.’

The AIO said the letter could be interpreted as suggesting that independent practices that chose not to join Specsavers may be excluded from NHS and CCG contracts.