The whole CCG set up for eye health care in England is laughable, and most people in the world of optics know this.

That something as important as the nation’s eye health care is left to local commissioning groups to balance against the demands of other health services is inappropriate, irresponsible and ultimately unfair on the public. It means that eye health care is a postcode lottery, and practitioners are put in the ridiculous position of having to offer different services to different patients depending on where they live. Of equal concern is that the general public are not aware that this is the case.

And so to the commissioning approaches being taken by CCGs, and in particular Mecs.

Aren’t optometrists trained to perform Mecs disciplines when they qualify? Goldmann tonometry, slit lamp biomicroscopy and emergency referrals are all standard GOC competencies. Why is there any need for CCGs to require any extra certification to provide these services? It is also AIO’s view that all practitioners should have the option of offering these services to their patients – apart from anything else they are in the best position to assess need and suitability. Freedom of choice for the patient is a key element to NHS services.

And of course not all CCGs have Mecs schemes, and there are a number of different approaches being taken to different eye care services across the country. Surely these need to become aligned and centrally mandated.

Ultimately, we should ask ourselves: why is the world of optics so poor at lobbying for what is simply common sense.