Simon Jones: Turning the tide
Author: Simon Jones
On this issue’s publication date, it will have been exactly 12 months since Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK could turn the tide on coronavirus in 12 weeks.
I’m not generally one for whataboutery and viewing everything through the prism of hindsight, but you have to wonder where the UK would have been if a few things were handled differently. That the Cheltenham Festival, which started earlier this week with no spectators, was allowed to go ahead last year now seems incomprehensible. The spin on the PPE fiasco that followed just seems reprehensible.
Some would argue that the government was simply caught on the hop by unprecedented events and did the best job it could at the time, but the identities of beneficiaries of government contracts suggests that wasn’t the case. The speed and efficiency of the vaccine rollout in the UK is rightly earning the government some good will credits, but shouldn’t stop a thorough review process taking place.
Many of the same ‘what ifs’ can be applied to the optometric profession’s associations and regulator. Could things have been handled differently during the past year? Undoubtedly.
Most ECPs will have felt despondent in some way during the pandemic, whether through a lack of clarity, an absence of transparency or the paucity of financial support from an institution that most would run through walls for.
A cold, hard review of the sector’s regulator and associations will come, because everyone answers to someone – whether that’s a professional standards watchdog or members that can vote with their fees.
Optics needs the equivolent of a vaccine rollout to lift spirits and earn some good will, but at the moment, it’s hard to see where that’s going to come from.