OSA – committed to common goals and collaboration
Stuart Burn, OSA Chair recently wrote for ‘Vision Now’ on the importance of greater collaboration with other optical stakeholders, which would ensure greater recognition by the Department of Health of the value of the optical profession. Read the full article here:
Committed to common goals and collaboration
As many of you will be aware, the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO) has changed its name to the Optical Suppliers Association (OSA). The reason is simple: to better communicate who we are and what we stand for. In fact, since becoming chairman of the then FMO in December 2019, this is one of a host of changes that has seen the OSA evolve into a far more proactive, engaging and supportive Association. As we speak, however, the job is by no means done; the OSA board has made incredible strides during what has been a brutal backdrop.
Prior to the pandemic, our Association was working to re-invigorate and re-energise Optrafair. Whilst we had made great progress, there was still a large call from exhibitors and delegates alike for a single large show in the UK rather than the a ‘dog fight’ between two capable providers. It therefore seemed sensible to work with 100% Optical owner, Media 10, to see what could be achieved.
This culminated in Optrafair being sold to Media 10 in the summer of 2020, and the OSA providing its full and exclusive support
to 100% Optical for at least the next five years. As the pandemic continues to impair normal life, we have yet to see the true benefit of this alliance. However, I am convinced the optical profession will enjoy a far healthier environment for this highly collaborative stance.
GETTING A HEAD START
UK and European regulation has also been at the forefront of our minds and, of course, Brexit – which adds to the burden of many optical suppliers. The OSA is a member of the Joint Optical Committee to Europe
( JOCEU) and the Joint National Associations of Optical Suppliers (EUROM1). We are also a contributor to the European Council of Optometry and Optics (ECOO), and have followed closely the UK government’s Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021, which regulates medical devices.
These are all important elements of how devices – from lens meters to OCTs – will be regulated and function in a practice. It is therefore vital that the OSA plays a leading role in understanding and influencing regulatory bodies – and communicating to our members the changes that are being planned. This gives our members a great head start with what is often an additional administrative burden.
This leads us on to greater collaboration with other optical stakeholders. For those of us who have been around the block in optics, I’m sure you will agree, there are a dizzying array of bodies and stakeholders for such a small industry. As has been shown with the merging of 100% Optical and Optrafair, the OSA is committed to greater collaboration and working on
common goals. The primary aim is to achieve a more cohesive profession that has the power, knowledge and skills to ensure a greater recognition by the Department of Health of the value of the optical profession. With like-minded partners, we are actively moving this agenda forward.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
There have been a lot of structural changes within the OSA in the last 12 months and as that phase draws to a close, we can look to the future and start making progress on new fronts. The collaboration with Media 10 is a journey we have already begun, and we are now seeking greater support and benefits for our members and their employees. We will soon be able to access the ABDO Member benefits programme for individuals, so our members’ employees can enjoy the same comprehensive discounts, memberships and rewards as ABDO members.
We are also exploring ways to promote our members to independents, and how OSA membership provides additional comfort to you – the independent practitioner – who needs partners you can trust. There’s no doubt the road ahead is as capricious and unpredictable as ever; however, the OSA is continuing to provide stability and support to its members – not just through a worldwide pandemic but in the years ahead as well. This, in turn, will help OSA members provide independents with a trustworthy, durable and stable supply of goods and services.
Those who appreciate these qualities will enjoy the value the OSA can bring, be they an optical supplier or an independent practice delivering a great quality of service to their patients.