Research by the General Optical Council reveals that public confidence in opticians is higher than GPs, dentists and pharmacists.

The 2021 General Optical Council (GOC) public perceptions research asked respondents how confident or otherwise they are of receiving a high standard of care from each of the healthcare professions mentioned above.

Nine in ten members of the public express confidence in each of these professions, with 94% being either fairly or very confident in the standard of care from opticians.  This compares to 90% for GPs, 91% for pharmacists and 89% for dentists.

The 2021 data replicates the historical findings that have shown minimal differentiation in the confidence the public have in the care provided by these four professions.

Over 2,000 members of the public responded to an online survey as part of the research. Some key findings include:

  • 96 percent of respondents were satisfied with their last opticians visit overall.
  • 94 percent of respondents remain confident in the standard of care provided by opticians remains high, and is higher than that for doctors, dentists and pharmacists.
  • 97 percent said they were satisfied with the measures that were in place during their last optician visit to protect them from coronavirus.
  • A new high of 30 percent of respondents said they would speak to an optician first if they woke up with an eye problem, representing an 11-percentage point increase since 2015.
  • Over a third of respondents (35%) said they perceive opticians to be solely a healthcare service, which has increased by 4-percentage points since 2019.

Marcus Dye, GOC Acting Director of Strategy, said:

“We’re extremely pleased to see that confidence in the professions remains high, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’d like to thank our registrants for their hard work during these difficult times to ensure the public could still receive eye care and feel safe doing so.

“It’s also positive to see that the perception of opticians as a healthcare service has increased to over a third, and more respondents than ever say they would speak to an optician first if they had an eye problem. We look forward to continuing to see these numbers increase and we hope registrants and the wider sector will find the report to be helpful in improving optical care practice.”

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