As the British government announces its path out of lockdown it is important to understand what to expect when visiting your optician. More so than a straight change to how things were, it is expected that there will be a transition period where practices will still implement certain protections to keep their patients, staff and practices safe.
In today’s blog we look into what to expect when visiting your optician after the 12th of April 2021.
12 April sees, in England, a selection of non-essential retail reopening including gyms, shops, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality. Opticians, as essential services, have been operating under strict guidelines during various stages of the pandemic.
It is a given that visiting your optician will remain an unusual experience for the foreseeable future. Designed to maintain strict safety protocols and procedures, it is important to understand that the optician, who will be implementing these protocols to protect the health of all, will still offer the very best care they can and their professional commitment to their patients will remain unchanged.
When booking your appointment, you may be asked by your optician if you have been in contact with any COVID-19 cases or if you have had symptoms of the virus. These simple questions help the practice to responsibly evaluate any risks posed by patients and to protect both staff and other patients.
Examinations are at the discretion of the practice and we must be mindful to respect their ultimate decision, which is never taken lightly, to provide care.
This can take the form of a temperature reading being taken (upon entering the practice), to use hand sanitiser and a request to wear a face mask. Whilst these provisions may feel impersonal, they are in place to assist and to keep everyone safe.
For children especially, these changes can be intimidating. We suggest having a conversation with your little one prior to their examination and to discuss what they can expect to experience. By discussing any worries and preparing them for the visit, you can assist the optical professional to diligently and effectively help and to allay any concerns or fears that your child may have.
Examinations and the service you receive will generally take longer than what you may be accustomed to. Whilst this is frustrating for all, we urge patience from the public.
Practices may be understaffed compared to normal service and please be assured that all at your opticians are working hard to deliver the very best service they can. Likewise, for professionals, we suggest an open conversation with your patients to draw attention to longer wait times and service and what to expect when visiting. Clearly stating to a client, when they book an appointment for example, how their visit will be can help to manage expectations.
At the heart of adapting to these changes is one concept that we believe all can benefit from: mindfulness. Mindfulness allows us to show both compassion and empathy to others and can help to diffuse tension. By applying the practice of mindfulness, we can be more receptive and adaptive to a new way of working.
The OCCS would like to reiterate our commitment to both professionals and the public in these difficult times. We thank all for their understanding in what are extremely challenging circumstances.