Providing GOS Services

Providing GOS Services

GOS Contracts England

Primary Ophthalmic Services (POS)

Part 6 of the National Health Services Act 2006 replaced the previous ophthalmic listing system in England with a system of contracts for providers and a separate Performer Listing system for optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners who are employed or engaged as locums by providers. The new system comprises three types of contract, the first two relate to General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) and sight testing and must adhere to the GOS Contract Regulations and the third community/enhanced services, where providers must adhere to the NHS Standard Contract.

  • Mandatory services (GOS), which all optical practices providing NHS GOS services must hold
  • Additional services, which fixed or mobile practices can chose to provide (this level currently only includes domiciliary and mobile GOS)
  • Enhanced services, which the NHS can commission locally from willing practices  (eg Minor Eye Conditions Services (MECS), referral refinement, IOP)

Each contract type has its own model contract format:

  • Mandatory Services Contract
  • Additional Services Contract
  • NHS Standard Contact (long or short form)

Although technically these are only models and variants are possible, in practice the NHS insists on these formats for clarity, consistency and fairness, and FODO supports this.

GOS Contract Regulations and Guidance (England)

The GOS Contract was developed in 2008 in response to part 6 of the NHS Act 2006 which stated that a sight test provider/contractor must enter into a General Ophthalmic Services Contract with a PCT (now regional team) in order to perform General Ophthalmic Services, i.e. GOS sight tests.  All optical practices wishing to perform GOS sight tests must enter into a GOS contract.  Further details including the regulations, guidance and the 2018 Model Contract can be found via the links below.

GOS Model Contract 2018 (England)

The mandatory contract should be used for sight test providers providing services in a fixed location.  The additional services contract should be used for mobile sight test services such as those provided by domiciliary providers. Further information on domiciliary providers can be found in the domiciliary section.

Applying for a GOS Contract in England

NHS England’s Eye Health Policy Book provides tools and information for commissioners of GOS services – setting out the processes to follow for contract applications, variations and GOS contract management.

The Optical Confederation has produced guidance on the GOS contract application process.

Optical Confederation guidance on managing GOS Contracts in England

The Optical Confederation guidance below produced in 2008 is a useful reference resource to the GOS Contract Regulations.

GOS Contracts Wales

Wales – GOS Regulations

In Wales, you must be registered under part 2 of the ophthalmic list to provide general ophthalmic services. An ophthalmic medical practitioner, optometrist, sole trader or optical body corporate who wishes to be included in the ophthalmic list should apply to the Ophthalmic Qualifications Committee of the local Health Board.

The 1986 GOS regulations still apply in Wales.  Please click the link below to access the regulations.

GOS Contracts Scotland

Scotland – GOS Regulations

NHS eye examinations are funded by the Scottish Government and are free to those ordinarily resident in the UK or those who belong to one of the categories of exemptions from NHS charges, set out in the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Scotland) Regulations 1989.

To provide general ophthalmic services in Scotland, you must be registered under part 1 of the ophthalmic list. Practitioners must contact their appropriate NHS Board to apply to join the list. Once added to the list, the Primary Services Division (PSD) will allocate you a list number.

For access to Scotland’s GOS regulations including all amendments up until 2014 please click on the link below.

GOS Contracts Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland – GOS Regulations

In Northern Ireland you must apply to be included on part 2 the ophthalmic list if you wish to provide general ophthalmic services.  The applications should be submitted to the Health and Social Care Board.

For access to the GOS regulations in Northern Ireland please click on the link below.