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14 August 2020

FODO’s Friday roundup – sector news

This week's news


FODO phone interruption 24 August 

We will be upgrading our telephone system on 24 August between 10am and 11am. The process should take no longer than one hour. Members can still contact us during this time by email: [email protected]. We can also call back if you email us.     

Colleges publish joint vision to support eye care services in England

FODO has welcomed the publication this week of a joint vision by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and College of Optometrists. It supports the provision of safe and sustainable eye care services in England in future.

The Colleges committed to support "collaborative working relationships between primary and secondary care". They confirmed they "do not want to return to the "harmful delays to treatment in the hospital eye service (HES) [which had] already been recognised before the pandemic".

As a precursor to the NHS England Outpatients Transformation Programme, there is a timely recognition that:

  • "For all outpatients: Continued use of primary care optometry services to see patients who have conditions that can be diagnosed and/or treated within primary care, in conjunction with hospital-based referral and support from an appropriate clinician as required."
  • There is a need to ensure that all regions commission urgent and enhanced care from primary care optometrists
  • GOS has a different and specific function which cannot be diverted to these purposes (although somewhat obliquely expressed)
  • "Funding models and pricing should not lead to any perverse incentives or inconsistent payments for the same work and resource use across organisations."

The joint statement covers proposed clinical pathways, professional development, funding, referrals, governance and more. Read the full statement.

Covid-19: Royal College advises preparation for a second wave 

In an announcement this week, Royal College of Ophthalmologist president Bernie Chang set out how ophthalmology services across the UK had responded to the first phase of the pandemic by adapting clinical practice and working more closely with optometrists in the best interests of patients. However, he advises all members to prepare for a second wave of Covid-19 infection and to "put in place the new ways of working that have been proven to overwhelmingly support patients, such as video consultation, increased collaborative care with optometric colleagues in the community". Read more.  

New GOS paper forms - England 

We remind members in England that current GOS forms will only be valid for claims until 30 September. Starting 1 October 2020, practices that are not submitting claims via eGOS will have to use the new-style paper forms. 

PCSE confirms it will send practices a contingency pack of the paper forms in September and that practices can also order these through PCSE Online towards the end of September. 

PCSE also says that practices using eGOS can print a GOS3 voucher from PCSE Online and that the new paper version will include a unique voucher and authorisation code. 


Scotland - mandatory training 

Optometry Scotland has reminded all listed GOS practitioners they are required to complete mandatory training for both FPOC and Consent. As set out in PCA(O)2019(3), this must be submitted no later than 13 November. Any questions you have should be directed to the NES Optometry Mandatory Training Team by emailing [email protected].   

Myopia control - multifocal contact lenses 

A study funded by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (USA), has found that children wearing multifocal contact lenses had a slower progression of their myopia. 

The randomised control clinical trial included 294 children aged 7 to 11 with myopia and found that treatment with high add power multifocal contact lenses meaningfully reduced the rate of myopia progression when compared with a medium add and single vision contact lenses. The authors of the study, however, urged caution and the need for further research to understand the observed differences and long-term outcomes better. Read more.  

US regulator approves autonomous diabetic retinopathy screening 

The FDA has given EyeArt regulatory clearance to market its autonomous AI eye screening system, which is said to be able to detect clinically significant diabetic retinopathy automatically. The FDA based its clearance on a prospective multi-centre clinical trial involving 942 participants. Learn more.   

GOC seeks new Chair 

The General Optical Council (GOC) is seeking a Chair to replace Gareth Hadley when he stands down next February. The Chair of the GOC has to be a lay person independent of the optical professions. 

The Chair appointment is not open to candidates who are or have ever been a registrant, but if you have the right skills and experience, you can apply for the post before 5pm on 1 September. Learn more.   

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) reminder

Don't forget that if you are still using the CJRS, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per person for the hours furloughed employees do not work from 1 September. You will need to pay 10% of furloughed employees' wages to make up 80% of their total wages up to a cap of £2,500 per person and all furloughed employees' NI and pension contributions.

Register your NHS Mail account in England 

As advised last week, GOS contractors in England should sign up for an NHS email address using this form

Members who already have an NHS email account should also complete the same form to ensure the NHS BSA updated mailing list includes your practice for future correspondence. 

Members who have any questions about the process should contact us directly at [email protected]

LOCSU podcast covers National Outpatient Transformation Programme 

Richard Whittington hosts the latest LOCSU podcast exploring the National Outpatient Transformation Programme (NOTP). 

Zoe Richmond, LOCSU interim clinical director, and Claire Roberts from NHS England who is a clinical lead on the NOTP, join Richard. Both Zoe and Claire are optometrist members of the NOTP Steering Group. Listen now.       

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