End unfair treatment and pay cuts to locum optometrists during Covid-19

End unfair treatment and pay cuts to locum optometrists during Covid-19

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Locum Optometrists started this petition to PA to the Chief Executive (Association Of Optometrists) and


Optometrists have always played a key role in providing essential eye care to the general public. 
We are skilled practitioners with the ability to detect and prevent eye disease. This makes us the first point of contact for many patients with any eye concerns.
If these patients were to attend A&E, it would be at a cost of £160 per patient (NHS Manchester CCG 2020). Instead the average cost of an eye test is between £20-30 (Specsavers 2020)

Optometrists provide their services, both as employees or, ad hoc cover as locums. The Association of Optometrists has identified that 27% of registered Optometrists are Locums or Temporary workers. (Optometrists Futures Report for the AOP 2018).

As with any self-employed profession, Optometry locum work comes at a cost. It lacks job security and there is an absence of sick, holiday and maternity pay. We are also at risk of last-minute cancellations and therefore likely to experience an unexpected loss of income.

It has come to our attention that some companies are reducing locum rates by 50% compared to our average daily wage. What makes this situation harder to bear is that locum wages have reduced over the past 20 years. This means that a locum optometrist is earning 40% less than in the year 2000 when taking into account inflation.

This reduction in our wage comes at a time when Optometrists are needed more than ever. As Primary Healthcare workers, we are working on the front line dealing with patients who may be infected with Covid-19. Data from the UK's Office for National Statistics ranked Optometrists 17th out of 359 jobs likely to be exposed to Coronavirus and 9th out of 359 in terms of how close we get to our patients.

However, we have a genuine desire to work, in order to allow essential eye care to continue, which allows the NHS to focus their efforts on Covid-19 patients. Yet despite putting ourselves and our families at risk, the companies that hire us have decided to cut our wages at this crucial time. This is despite these companies posting record levels of revenue and business growth to date (Average revenue £1.95bn in top 3 Optical companies).

This reduction shows a lack of appreciation and respect for a highly skilled profession and demeans the hard work, extensive training and rigorous education that every Optometrist has to go through. It also shows a lack of awareness of the increasing responsibilities and workload that is placed on modern day Optometrists.

We call upon all optical staff and all members of the public to sign this petition to show your support for all Optometrists.

We demand that optical companies reverse the decision to reduce locum rates as a sign of respect and appreciation towards a specialist profession. We also ask that Optometrists not be valued based on how many glasses we sell, but based on our clinical expertise.

Please sign this petition to help us campaign for fair pay after decades of neglect and mistreatment.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!