At the time of going to press, Steve Barclay is once again secretary of state for health and social care. Once again? Yes, although it may have passed many by, Barclay held the same position for two months in the final throws of the Boris Johnson administration.

Outgoing health secretary, Therese Coffey, didn’t have much time in post to effect change on things likes GP waiting times and surgery backlogs. Fifty days, to be precise. Although given her admission that she gives friends antibiotics prescribed for herself, maybe it was a good thing she moved on.

Predicting what this health secretary merry-go-round means for NHS provision at optical practice level is rather difficult, not least because the post may be occupied by someone else at the drop of a hat. It’s the £35bn fiscal black hole that makes things even harder to predict, but it’s reasonable to assume that funding levels aren’t going to improve. Although, private cataract providers might do well in the next few years.

At the risk of sounding like a doom and gloom merchant, we now have a former health secretary that presided over the NHS between 2012 and 2018, the period of year-on-year austerity cuts and missed targets, as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Finding extra efficiencies within the NHS is Jeremy Hunt’s forte, but he’s trimmed the fat before. It’s hard to see where he and Barclay go next.

I now worry for initiatives like Optometry First that want to ease burdens on hospitals, reduce outpatient waiting times and eliminate the risks of avoidable sight loss. Among the current political chaos and the need to balance the nation’s books, there’s a real risk that the schemes being tested may not be scaled up in the way the sector hoped.