Introduction: In the United Kingdom (UK), primary eye care services are provided by community‐based optometrists. Across the UK, the health departments of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have the power to design health services according to the needs of their respective populations. These devolved powers have resulted in considerable differences in the structure and extent of primary eye care services, their availability to patients as well as the remuneration of optometrists. In this editorial the General Ophthalmic Services contract in Scotland is reviewed and contrasted with published evidence on primary community‐based eye care services in England. A particular emphasis is on whether free eye test for all, increased responsibilities of optometrists, increased remuneration for eye examinations and the requirement for referral refinement procedures, all of which are in place in Scotland, can be considered value for money or perhaps an inefficient use of limited resources. Unaddressed research needs are highlighted and it is hoped that this article will contribute to stimulating the discussion and future development of effective, accessible and inclusive primary eye care services in the whole of the UK, drawing from lessons learned from contrasting different current eye‐health care models.
- ophthalmic services
- health policy