It’s all a bit tempestuous at the moment, isn’t it? Last week’s College of Optometrists webinar on providing eye care during lockdown ended with the organisation issuing a stern reminder about maintaining professional standards and highlighting its own member code of conduct after social media users descended into personal attacks and derogatory remarks.

And I know the feeling. Last week on the optom.com forum, I was referred to as a ‘patsy’ with no ‘cojones’. Not just that, but also somehow complicit in widespread corruption involving the General Optical Council. I have to admit, I was rather put out by that, as I like to think I have been a bit of a thorn in the GOC’s side over the past decade. Not just the GOC, either, but multiples, independents, associations, suppliers, contact lens companies etc.

When it comes to digital diatribes, the optom.com poster and the social media shouters have the advantage of anonymity. Free to cast aspersions and make unfounded claims with little-to-no accountability. But having no accountability comes at the cost of not having any clout.

My worry is, and has always been, that if the optometric profession airs its dirty laundry in public, the public will look at what everyone is washing, and it may well drive them to parts of the industry that only benefit a select few.

As I said at the start, it’s a tempestuous time, but it’s also an emotionally draining time for many practitioners. In many cases, they’re drained because they’re having to work in situations where they feel unsafe and going to a line manager won’t make any difference. The voices of those practitioners need to be heard by the Government, NHS England and the industry’s own associations. But it’s probably best if those voices don’t come from someone on Twitter going by the name of ‘Specsavers RUNS The College Of Optoms’.