Optometry Excellence programme update


A new Greater Manchester Optometry Excellence programme is being finalised and will be rolled out this year.

A new programme aimed at supporting the optical sector and enabling it to thrive is taking shape.

The Greater Manchester Optometry Excellence programme will be rolled out to the optometry workforce throughout 2024.

Inspired by the successful Greater Manchester GP Excellence programme, it has been designed to provide support and assistance to practices which may be struggling, while encouraging a culture of improvement and excellence through peer support and access to industry experts.

The programme will incorporate four workstreams, or support offers, headed up by four leads from across GM:

  • Rescue and resilience – focusing on health and wellbeing and the wider challenges faced by the optometry workforce, such as retention, long-term sickness, locums and engaging with newly qualified optometrists and opticians
  • Optometry referrals improvement – concentrating on the data analysis of referrals and referral trends, in the context of health inequalities, to drive quality improvement
  • Practical support – for practices engaged with the elective reform and recovery, glaucoma referral filtering, and independent prescribing pathways; and those reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities and through the Pride in Practice programme
  • Sustainability – a dual focus on greener provision of optometry services, and the financial sustainability of the sector, including funding and the cost-of-living crisis

The Optometry Excellence programme is funded by the Greater Manchester Primary Care Provider Board (PCB) and supported by the GM Local Optical Committee (LOC).

The programme is currently surveying all 300-plus optometry practices in GM, and their views and preferences will help to finalise the detail of each support offer.

Dharmesh Patel, senior responsible officer for the Optometry Excellence programme, and chair of the GM Optometry Provider Board, said: “A lot of work has gone into the development of the Optometry Excellence programme and the establishment of the four workstream leads, and I am grateful for all the time, effort and dedication that has been invested so far.

“I am thrilled to be able to say that we will launch the programme in 2024, and begin to deliver the much-needed support and guidance to our optometry community on a rolling basis. The GP Excellence programme has provided a vital service to our general practice and PCN colleagues, and I hope we can make a similar impact on the optical sector of primary care.”

We will provide more updates in due course, as the programme develops further.