AIO Conference a resounding success

 Round Table opines that the future is very promising. AIO Code launched

The AIO Conference at Eastwood Hall in Nottingham was the biggest and one of the best Conferences in long history of the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO). The clinical and ‘in-practice’ programmes received excellent feedback from delegates and the opportunity to network and discuss issues with fellow Independents was one of the highlights of the event.

The new AIO Code was also launched to the profession.

One of the features of the Conference was the roundtable discussion, which was facilitated by Conference Committee Chairman Nigel Burnett Hodd. This featured Chris Hunt, Chairman of the Optical Confederation, Lyndon Taylor, immediate past Chairman of AOP and current Chairman of the AOP IPC, Peter Black, President of ABDO, David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO and the AIO’s own Chairman Peter Warren.

The majority of the roundtable panel of participants were very positive about the future for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, but all agreed that the landscape would change. Technology, changes in local health care provision and expansion of the services offered by high streets independents to include therapeutic practice and supply were all amongst the subjects discussed. There were some challenging questions from the floor and indeed, as would expected, some different opinions from amongst those on the panel. However the session was conducted in a constructive and friendly manner and demonstrated that there are many common agendas amongst the professional bodies.

Nigel BH AIO Conference-13Nigel Burnett Hodd said ‘I was thrilled with the feedback from delegates about the Conference in general which featured speeches, workshops and lectures from a diverse range of exceptional presenters. In particular I was delighted with the Round Table session, which was a unique opportunity to hear the different perspectives of key leaders and opinion shapers in the disparate world of Optics. One of the important messages for me was the view that the profession must take responsibility for its own future, as leaving it up to Government is unlikely to be a viable option.’

Peter Warren commented ‘the Conference and round table session highlighted for me the very important role that AIO has to play in representing the interests of the Independent sector. The launch of our new Independents’ Patients Quality Code is a very visible and concrete step in helping the general public to understand the outstanding level of eye care that the Independent sector can offer and how very good Code subscribing firms are at offering it. The Conference once again proved a great opportunity to meet and discuss issues with fellow Independents as well as attend a series of excellent presentation and lectures.’

The AIO has already started planning for the 2016 Conference which will be held on the weekend of the 8th to the 10th October at The Vale in Cardiff.