The Association of British Dispensing Opticians hosted the first OSCEs in Mecs and GAT for contact lens opticians in collaboration with Wopec at ABDO’s National Recource Centre in Birmingham last month. I am absolutely delighted that all 22 participants passed. This marks a significant step forward for dispensing opticians, not solely from a professional advancement perspective. Other tangible benefits are, notably, recognition and expansion of the scope of practice as eyecare professionals.

This group is paving the way for others to follow. At present ABDO has 140 CLOs enrolled on the Wopec distance learning modules. The modules are identical to those for optometrists to ensure consistency in learning. ABDO and Wopec will host ongoing extended services training days and OSCEs at ABDOs National Resource Centre in Birmingham. The next days are already scheduled for November 20 and 21 and will be repeated to meet the demand of contact lens opticians advancing into extended services provision.

Contact lens opticians will work closely with, but not under the supervision of, optometrist colleagues in delivering enhanced services. This is an historic moment for the profession and highlights the shift towards a multi-disciplinary team in primary care setting.

We have in the region of 1,200 CLOs working in the UK. When accredited this will be a substantial workforce to assist in the provision of Mecs allowing optometrists to provide higher level enhanced services along with maintaining eye examination demands which obviously drives much needed spectacle sales.

ABDO is extremely thankful to Locsu, Wopec and the GOC for their support that has made this project possible.