I was honoured to preside over the Association of British Dispensing Optician’s annual graduation ceremony last month at Canterbury Cathedral. Over 300 graduands received their qualification in dispensing optics and contact lenses. Candidates from Greece, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Ireland and South Africa received their FBDO overseas qualification. In my welcome address I congratulated all on their achievements and looked forward to their future career as dispensing opticians reminding all that this was just the beginning and they had many career opportunities ahead of them. The FBDO qualification opens the door to management, training, education and research, contact lenses, low vision and Mecs, to name but a few.

Earlier in the month I was also privileged to attend the College of Optometrists’ diploma ceremony at the prestigious Central Hall Westminster where over 300 newly qualified optometrists celebrated their new professional status. At both ceremonies it was a striking fact that the dynamics of our profession has changed considerably. The challenge the profession and our practices face now is how to run a successful business when our opticians of the future seek greater flexibility in working patterns when what our patients demand is consistency. The current shift to locum working enables the optician to work in this flexible way but the practice they choose to work in has little control over quality or cost. The profession also faces the scrutiny of HRMC, are locums truly locum or should they be employed? A priority discussion for all our professional bodies in 2019.

As professionals we collectively we have a duty to embrace and control change and not let it control us.