2020 statement about our decision to reduce our NHS appointments
The global pandemic in 2020 has presented every public service provider on the high street with extra challenges, and the optical industry has been no exception.
Protecting both the staff and patients through testing eyes, trying on spectacles, fitting orders, and using contact lenses has created extra work in terms of regular and extra cleaning on top of which we have charges of PPE for all staff. The number of employees at any one time in the practice had to be reduced and therefore the number of patients per day has also been reduced.
So, with fewer patient spaces each day but still the same business expenses we had to work out a way to keep our business running. The simple facts are that we are paid £21.31 from the NHS to conduct a sight test which takes us 45 minutes and we cannot run a business on this basis, without seriously compromising the care you get and the quality of the testing.
The only option, if we want to remain in business providing high-quality care for our patients is to reduce the number of NHS slots and offer private appointments to our patients. The cost of these appointments will be £80.00 but currently, we are offering a reduced charge of £60.00.
Our eye examinations now include a 3D OCT eye scan of the back of your eye, this not only means that we do not need to be as close to you during an examination but also gives us a full picture of the back of your eye, this enables us to pick up any changes from appointment to appointment to ensure we are giving your eyes the attention that they deserve.
To help our customers further we have introduced a way to spread the payments, called our Gold Payment Plan. Instead of paying for a test in full, you can set up a direct debit to pay £4.95 a month which means you will be paying £59.40 over the year, giving you a saving of £20.60 on our £80 eye test. There are also other advantages of this scheme including 10% off any purchases including sunglasses, eye or ear products as well as a free hearing test and full details can be found here.
We also respect that patients may not want to set up a direct debit and would prefer to pay as you go, which is also completely fine, but when the cost returns to £80, it will be more than the direct debit payment.
If you would like an NHS appointment please let our staff know but you will find that the appointments will have a much longer lead time, and we ask for your understanding of this matter.
Business decisions come with some cost and 2020 has certainly tested us, we have had to make staff redundant and we have had to work out how we can manage to stay in business, and sadly this is the only way we can make this work for the team at Colemans.
We are aware that this news has been hard for many of our customers who have never paid for a sight test in the past, and for that we are sorry. However, we can assure you that we will be giving you the very best treatment in these very testing times, we plan to be here for the long game, and we thank you for your understanding as we transition to a new way of working.
Helen Hillis, Radley & Kate Fenn