This week’s GOC clarification that the limitation placed on registrants back in March on only providing essential and urgent care was applied equally to NHS and privately provided care, will hopefully negate some of the sector’s ill feeling towards its regulators, associations and retailers.

It’s to the credit of the Association of Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians that its intervention was the catalyst for clarity. Others have pointed the finger at each other, which isn’t escaping members of the
profession.

In nearly a decade of working on Optician, I haven’t seen the sector so galvanised and engaged in mobilising change. The past three months have been incredibly stressful for practice owners, employees – all of us really – so it’s understandably an emotive time.

But if there is to be genuine progress, that emotion needs to be tempered with more sense and reason. When I first read the Change.org petition calling for an investigation into GOC conduct, my first thought was that the author might have been best drafting the mission statement, sleeping on it, then deciding if that was still what they wanted to say. That said, the petition has nearly 7,000 signatures, so its content clearly resonates with the profession.

Emotion has been evident on social media too, with a new band of anonymous mischief makers posting and replying to regulator and retailer posts with ‘inside info’ and opinion. It’s the new way of holding people’s feet to the fire and that’s completely fair, but there have been some worrying posts where individuals using social media in a personal capacity have been tagged in awkward conversations about events. Hopefully it’s a one off, because online bullying won’t help anyone’s cause.