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AOP calls on Government to act faster for locums

March 24th

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is calling on the Government to redouble its efforts to provide essential support for self-employed people, such as locum optometrists.

Within the last week, the Government has announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the employed, guaranteeing 80% of their monthly earnings, up to £2,500, alongside a package of supportive measures for public services and businesses.

The Treasury is currently working on income support measures for self-employed people, but today said these are likely to take time to introduce because of the complexities involved in delivering a brand new service.

In response, the AOP is highlighting the need for the Government to drive this forward more quickly, because thousands of our locum optometrist members, like other self-employed people, are now in a desperate financial situation through no fault of their own.

AOP Councillor and locum optometrist, Alison McClune said: “We understand the Government faces huge challenges in supporting people during this unprecedented disruption. But the self-employed workforce, who play a key role in supporting our healthcare system, must be given the same help as others, and at the same time. Locums make up a massive part of the UK’s optical workforce, providing essential eye care in the community. They are rightly angry and deeply worried that the Government can’t yet assure them they will be given the same level of help as others.”

The AOP today issued specific guidance for locum optometrists.

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