AIO Conference 2018
October 25, 2018
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AIO Conference 2018

AIO Chairman Christian FrenchOver 100 practitioners attended the conference of the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians in Manchester last week (14-15 October).

The event at the Pendulum Hotel and Conference Centre featured five CET lectures, 11 lectures in total and a choice of 21 workshops, with a total of 38 CET points on offer. There was also a separate programme for students.

A first for the conference was the attendance by a representative of NHS England. Richard Everitt, of Dental and Optical Services Commissioning, supported optometrist Lisa Donaldson, Clinical Lead at SeeAbility, who explained the new pathways for people with learning difficulties.

Other speakers included the recently appointed Interim Chief Executive of the GOC, Lesley Longstone, the Immediate Past President of ABDO, Fiona Anderson and the Chief Executive of the College of Optometrists, Ian Humphreys.

The conference began with a welcome dinner at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground the night before, with optometrist Dr Sarah Morgan performing the after-dinner entertainment. A gala dinner was also held at the Lowry Hotel on the Sunday (October 14).

“Our annual conference goes from strength to strength and by moving to a different location each year, we reach out to a new audience every time,” explained AIO Chairman, Christian French. “It has been a number of years since we ventured into the North West, and Manchester was a great place to visit.”

Mr French added: “By mixing up a great clinical programme with splendid social events, the AIO Conference is a wonderful opportunity for the independent sector to come together and celebrate the virtues of independent practice. In particular this year, Lancashire County Cricket’s Old Trafford Ground and the Lowry Hotel did us proud for our welcome dinner and gala dinner respectively.

“The Conference also provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the recently introduced Eye Promise quality mark for independents, as well as the chance to publicise the DVLA eye test bid that AIO has played such a major part in bringing together.

“Feedback from delegates has been extremely positive and we believe that we will have registered over 3,000 CET points,” he concluded.

The next AIO Conference will be on 5-6 October 2019 at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, Bristol, when one of the highlights will be a welcome dinner on board SS Great Britain.

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