Despite the presidential handover ceremony being postponed, I took up the position as president of ABDO from Clive Marchant, on April 6. Clive has been a fantastic president these past two years. He remains on the board as an adviser: I will be using his experience and knowledge going forward. I would like to thank Clive for all he has given to ABDO during his time as president.

Never before have video/conference calls, and social media been so important in keeping open lines of communication and sharing information. However, the volume can be overwhelming and we need to verify that what we share is accurate.

In England, we have the Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) working with NHS England to provide support and information on the provision of eye care. The representative bodies in each nation are doing a fantastic job working with the governments to do the same in their nation and ABDO has representation on all of these, through our head of policy, Debbie McGill. ABDO has a dedicated Covid-19 page, which is updated regularly from all over the UK. Please use this and other representative bodies’ resources to source information as the situation continues.

Unfortunately, not all of the profession can be utilised to deliver eye care currently. ABDO is providing support to those members too. The links to government support are on our website and we have started to look at opportunities available to redeploy the optical profession. We will take this forward with the GOC and colleagues throughout the UK.

This is a worrying time for the profession and all individually. The number one priority is for all representative bodies to work together to get our teams through this as best we can, and for everyone to stay safe.

Jo Holmes,

President