- The optometric workforce is comprised mainly (over 95%) of optometrists working in primary care community optometry practices.
- Optometry is a growing profession. The numbers of optometrists registered with the GOC stating that they work in a practice in Wales has grown from 602 in 2012 to 743 in 2020 (GOC, personal communication).
- There are currently approximately 1000 optometrists with supplementary list numbers registered in Wales, representing all practicing optometrists, employed, locum and cross border optometrists.
- There are currently 286 registered dispensing opticians in Wales, 29 of whom are registered as contact lens opticians according to the GOC register
Current status in January 2021
- Independent Prescriber qualified
- 45 (6% of optom workforce)
- Medical Retina qualified
- 64 (9% of optom workforce)
- Professional Certificate of Glaucoma
- 148 (20% of optom workforce)
- Higher Certificate of Glaucoma
- 19 (3% of optom workforce)
- Low Vision accredited
- 170 (23% of optom workforce)
- Low Vision accredited Dispensing Opticians
- 16 (6% of DO workforce)
- Contact lens opticians
- 29 (10% of Dispensing Opticians workforce)
This workforce data at present comes from NHS Wales Shared Service Partnership from when optometrists register as performers and optometry practices register as contractors.
With contract reforms happening currently, there is an expectation that the workforce of the future will need to be adaptable and flexible and that shifting patients from secondary into community primary care will be required in line, ensuring that patient safety is at the heart of any deliverable changes in line with the principles of ‘A Healthier Wales’.
As part of the project for the Welsh Clinical Leadership Training Fellowship (WCLTF), we are investigating how the workforce data needs to be collected in the future and a new workforce plan.
Evaluation of pathways and services to identify changes required to develop an efficient and effective eye care service follows on from, and integrates with, the workforce plan.
Existing models of care and service delivery from within, and outside of Wales, that provide evidence of improvements in patient care and/or outcomes will be evaluated to determine if these models may be applicable for regions within Wales. This will include where additional training has led to enhanced services being delivered by eye care professionals not traditionally associated with the role. This will also include supporting services that may be delivered by different professionals.
- Map the optometry and ophthalmic workforce and skills in community and secondary care in Wales.
- The map will be developed to measure a baseline and enable progress of the plan to be measured against milestones and goals.
- Produce a strategic five year workforce plan for optometry and the ophthalmic workforce in Wales.
- Produce an implementation plan to support the workforce plan.