Less than our equals
I have been offering NHS General Ophthalmic Services at my practice for nearly three decades now and it is only recently that I have become aware of what I consider to be a gross inequity in payment for this work. This has come about thanks to the debacle of the new listings regulations. I must say that, for a government that says it is against unfairness and inequity, even this latest discovery rates as staggering.
It seems that one of the biggest problems for our erstwhile colleagues the ophthalmic medical practitioners (OMPs) under the new regulations is they may not be able to get their GOS work superannuated each month!
Of course this will not be a problem for us mere optometrists because we have never even been offered the opportunity to have an NHS pension and therefore attract super-annuation.
How on earth could this unfair duality have been allowed to start let alone continue? Why is it that yet again we appear to have been left out in the NHS wilderness?
Payment for NHS services has been littered with unfairness over the decades and this is just another example of the Department of Health suggesting that our NHS services are less than those offered by our equals. It is quite staggering what some of our fellow NHS practitioners in other professions have at their disposal within their NHS pensions.
I would not advise the faint hearted to look at how a GP's pension is worked out under the new GMS contract but I can tell you that if ever you hear a GP moaning about his pension do not believe a word of what he is saying. One GP I was talking to seemed quite embarrassed at the wealth that he was now rapidly accumulating in back payments on his pension scheme, and will continue to accumulate, since signing up to the new GMS.
It seems that at every turn the GOS contract we currently have in place throws up inadequacies or inequities. I have said it before and I will repeat it again now, it is well past time that we started a radical overhaul of this ridiculous contract.
Stop this farce
While reading another journal a couple of weeks ago I noted a letter about the new EU driving regulations that have now been approved by the European Parliament. Frankly I am amazed that so little has been said since. If these regulations are to be believed, most people with a prescription over + or -8.00 dioptres or with a binocular vision defect will be stopped from driving. This will include many of you reading this. (How will you get to the golf course in future?)
The proposed EU driving regulation is a farce and needs to be stopped now. I have been handing out copies of the letter to my patients who will eventually be affected by the new ruling and they have been writing to their MPs and EMPs.
With the presidency of the EU coming to the UK this year, we have an opportunity to change this legislation. I urge you all to explore this matter further.