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October 31 2012
The AOP continues to protect practitioners without passing on higher membership costs in 2013
For the third year running, the AOP has decided that membership fees will remain at the same level in 2013, having undertaken a restructuring which is focused on providing greater value for members. The AOP will be sending out renewal letters to all members in November.
As part of the package, members receive medical malpractice insurance. A prerequisite in order to practise, it is vital that members renew their membership before the year-end. Practising without insurance can result in the GOC removing a practitioner from the Register.
Some practitioners choose to rely on their employer’s insurance policy. David Craig, AOP director of marketing and business development, has identified two pitfalls to this approach.
“First, an employer’s insurance will only cover them while working for that employer; should they undertake locum work elsewhere, they need additional insurance for that work. AOP insurance covers them wherever they work.
“Second, while relying on your employer’s insurance may seem attractive and cheaper, you should bear in mind that an insurance policy is designed to look after the policy holder. That policy holder is the employer and not the employee. The AOP has no corporate members. All members are individual and we give them all the benefit of the experience and skills of a legal team which deals with optometric and dispensing cases exclusively. Their experience is without equal; no other body or insurer can come close to matching it."
Mr Craig adds: “I was delighted to read, in a discussion on an Internet optometric discussion forum, a member writing about the AOP legal team: “AOP lawyers seem to really enjoy ripping apart anyone who looks sideways at their members...I can't recommend them highly enough”. That sums us up pretty well.”
Easier ways to pay
The AOP is encouraging members to set up a Direct Debit or to pay online. Direct Debits ensure that membership fees continue to be paid without interruption. Online payments do require action, but ensure that the data entered is accurate. Both methods offer increased reliability, are more efficient, plus they help the Association keep its membership costs down.
Categories of membership
Different membership categories to the AOP are available to suit the varying circumstances of practitioners.
Part-time practitioners can take advantage of the concessionary grade – provided they work for fewer than 100 days per year. The 100-day allowance includes work in all modes of practice, including work as an optometric adviser.
Newly qualified practitioners are offered a substantial discount on membership for the year in which they qualify. “Most students enter their working life carrying significant debt and also have new expenses to cover, such as work clothes and often relocation costs”, says Mr Craig. “The AOP is doing what it can to help make life easier for those who are the future of the profession. Of course, students and pre-regs are entitled to free membership.”
Those practitioners thinking of leaving the AOP, either in order to retire from practice or because they wish to rely on alternative insurers, are asked to contact the AOP directly so that the Association can offer insurance cover into retirement or a policy which insures non-members in perpetuity for work carried out while they were an AOP member.
How to renew a membership
Members can set up Direct Debits using the form enclosed with their renewal letters or make online payments via the ‘Members area’ on the AOP website, www.aop.org.uk
. Contact the membership team at email@example.com
or call 020 7549 2010 for more information.
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