Opticians try to thwart Hatfield university training plan

PUBLISHED: 15:15 19 February 2014 | UPDATED: 15:15 19 February 2014

University of Hertfordshire

University of Hertfordshire

Archant

Opticians worried about their livelihoods are campaigning to stop Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire training people to enter their profession.

An online petition, with 2,454 signatures as the Welwyn Hatfield Times went to press, called on the General Optical Council to refuse the university’s plan for a new optometry course.

According to the petitioners: “Currently, there are nine universities which are accredited by the optical regulatory board, The General Optical Council.

“The current job market is currently able to just support the number of graduates that these universities are producing, allowing them to complete their training and become fully qualified optometrists.

“We believe that increasing the number of graduates will saturate the market. This will mean that graduate optometrists will not be able to complete their training because of increased competition for these positions.

“We also feel that this saturation of the job market will reduce further the salaries of optometrists as well as increase competition for jobs.”

University spokeswoman Ann Bruno confirmed it hoped to win accreditation for a new course from the General Optical Council, who would not be able to comment until the process was complete.

She said: “The University of Hertfordshire is working with the General Optical Council to develop a programme in line with the requirements for accreditation, and we intend to make a formal submission for accreditation in March.”

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