Advanced Eye Care – Frequently Asked Questions
For over 40 years Richard Petrie Optometrists has taken the time necessary to care for the eye health & vision of each of you, our patients. We have prided ourselves on remaining at the forefront of technological advancement when it comes to your eyecare, introducing highly sophisticated technology, usually decades ahead of the ‘high street’. This passion to be the best in eyecare is still just as strong and we have added to our suite of technology to keep the quality of your eyecare at the top of our priorities to provide outstanding eyecare.
From October 1st 2021, we will no longer be able to offer the free NHS (general ophthalmic service) eye examination that some people qualify for. Instead our patients will be joined to our payment plan, “RP4", as members and join the hundreds of existing patients in receiving the standard of care we want to deliver at Richard Petrie Optometrists…personalised and advanced eye care.
Being dedicated to staying at the forefront of our industry, for the benefit of our patients means evolving our practice, adapting to demands and purchasing (without financial NHS support) the sophisticated equipment needed, to deliver thorough eye care to our patients.
To protect our clients and reduce the number of clients in the practice at any one time, the sight test time with us has increased to 45 minutes long (excluding diagnostic tests), despite the NHS only funding 6-7 minutes of the care you receive.
The enhanced diagnostic suite we have means that for proper interpretation and consultation, we need to spend longer with you to give the top level of care we strive for.
As we set out to survive the pandemic it has become increasingly clear that we can no longer work without a sustainable NHS fee to cover the cost of the thorough eye care we provide.
Don’t the NHS pay you?
The NHS sight test fee has been pretty much frozen for a decade, and in the years before it increased at a far lower rate than inflation. During this time, despite rising costs, we maintained a high quality of care for our patients (often at a loss)
Do Opticians legally have to provide NHS sight testing?
No, we are a self-funding practice that had a contract with the NHS. What you probably didn’t know is that they didn’t always pay us for seeing patients. Particularly if the NHS decided that they didn’t think the patient needed a sight test. We made a loss all too often.
Why have we changed?
We haven’t changed, it’s the NHS funding that has not kept up to date with the eye care we provide.
The “free” NHS examination is a basic set of tests and we are simply not satisfied with settling for this because we know that we can do more.
Our vision is simple; Excellent service with up to date technology for the best eyecare.
What does this look like?
A monthly Direct Debit plan which gives you RP4 membership.
Membership benefits include
- Annual examinations
- Emergency appointments
- 3D OCT retinal scanning with interpretation from experienced Optometrists
- Optomap ultra-wide field retinal imaging: This is a safe and advanced way to see vast amounts of the retina…impossible without this technology
- Spectacle discounts
- Eyedrops and accessories discounts
- Children’s eyecare included with 1 adult (child joins their own plan if they wear glasses)
- Complimentary hearing care screening (discounts on hearing care products for RP4 Classic and Extra members)*
- Personal Eyewear Styling service*
*From Autumn 2021
How can I join?
Telephone or book to come and see us, and we will set up your preferred RP4 membership. You need to provide your sortcode and account number.
What about my family?
Children are welcome too. Just as we care for our own children, we’d like yours to benefit from Advanced Eye Care as well. If one parent is a member of RP4 Extra or Classic, the eyecare for 1 named child will be free.
If your child requires glasses they are joined as members at £7 per month and this includes their eyecare as frequently as required as well as standard single vision lenses included and frame charges subsidised.
If I see you for eye care, can I still get an NHS optical voucher towards the cost of my glasses?
As we don’t provide NHS sight testing, we cannot issue an NHS optical voucher. Other opticians cannot issue an NHS optical voucher to our prescription either – these are NHS regulations not ours.
What if I can’t afford your plan fees?
This has not been an easy decision for us. For many years we have subsidised the true cost of thorough eye care for NHS patients. The pandemic has been the final straw and left us unable to carry on under a grossly underfunded NHS sight testing system.
In the past the cost of glasses has had to subsidise the overall visit meaning that there was an “overcharge” for these. Our products are discounted when you are on a plan, just ask if you would like more details.
How do I find an optician who will give me an NHS sight test?
You can search for an NHS optician on the NHS website, or ask friends & family for recommendations.
I wear contact lenses, what about me?
Our contact lens wearers will know that we already have a plan to look after your contact lens wear prescriptions.
If you are under 18 your eyecare is now already included in your existing monthly membership fee.
If you are 18 and over you can add £6 per month to your existing plan to include eyecare and the other benefits too (if you have not already done this).
If you are not sure, ask us to check if you already have this included or not.
We will continue to offer emergency eyecare appointments, however because we no longer have an NHS contract we can only cover these free of charge if you are an RP4 member.
What if I don’t want to set up a Direct Debit?
If you would prefer to pay for your consultations each time you attend, that’s absolutely fine. It’s £154 for each advanced eye examination appointment or £84 for each Contact Lens Care appointment and £77 for each child's appointment.
I have a different question, can you help?
If you have any questions we’ve not covered please drop us a note here firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your trust and support throughout this difficult period, making this change now allows us to continue providing you and your family with excellent eye care for many years to come.
Looking into the future, we will continue to enhance our outstanding service that is personal to you and look forward to unveiling some of the new services we have planned over the next few months.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
We have uploaded the August and September articles of Richard’s Littleover Littlebook article which you may also find of interest.