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18 September 2020

FODO’s Friday roundup – sector news - 18 September

This week's news

 

National Eye Health Week begins next week 

This year's National Eye Health Week (NEHW) runs from 21 to 27 September and will underline why vision matters. 

Vision Matters has started the ball rolling with an eye health calculator and a sight loss simulator on its website, with a podcast coming soon. Learn more.   

 

New sight loss report - Time to Focus 

Sight loss costs the UK economy £25.2 billion a year and is to rise in the next 30 years, reports' Time to Focus' - a new study by Fight for Sight. 

The report, published this week, used standardised tests and found life scores among those with severe sight loss were lower than almost any other severe health condition. Read more on fodo.com.     

 

Ophthalmology A&E attendances continue to rise in England 


NHS Digital this week published hospital A&E activity data for 2019-20. The data show there were 25 million A&E attendances in 2019-2020, with twice as many visits in the most deprived areas compared to the least disadvantaged areas in England. 

A&E attendances coded as ophthalmology visits increased from 535,436 in 2018-19 to 681,397 in 2019-20. In 2020, it estimated ophthalmological conditions accounted for 3% of A&E visits based on the primary diagnosis. Access the original datasets.  

 

Outcomes for cataract surgery improve 

The 2018-19 National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) Audit has shown a 40% reduction in posterior capsule rupture (PCR) complication rates and that cataract surgeries affected by a loss of visual acuity has continued to decline since 2010. 

The fourth NOD audit covered 452,000 cataract operations in England and 20,000 in Wales. The NOD aims to support eye care professionals to improve the quality and safety of surgical procedures continuously. 

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, which hosts the NOD, also has plans to expand the audit to include Northern Ireland and to establish a national audit in wet age-related macular degeneration. 

Bernie Chang, the RCOphth President, said: "The findings once again highlight how the collection of data is so important to continuing to deliver high-quality surgery and reduce the burden of complications on patients and the NHS, improving both patient choice and outcomes significantly. The prospect of what a future age-related macular degeneration national audit will do for the medical retina sub-speciality patients is very exciting." 

Read more and access the full report.    

 

Update - GOS forms in England 

Primary Care Support England (PCSE) has confirmed that new paper GOS forms will be introduced on 1 November when it becomes "mandatory for use for all your GOS claims". Existing GOS forms will remain in use until 31 October. The PCSE is rolling out a new online GOS claims system and hopes that eventually the paper forms will be used as a back-up only. Read more.  

 

Wales winter plan - people encouraged to see optician 

Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced 'The Winter Protection Plan' this week. The plan sets out how services should respond to normal winter pressures in the context of Covid. 

Mr Gething said it was important to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Still, at the same time "pharmacies, NHS Direct, opticians, dentists, Minor Injury Units, health visitors, community nurses, midwives and GP practices, can all provide advice and treatment when looking after yourself at home isn't enough."  

 

New recommendations for primary care providers in England

Public Health England reminded all providers of primary and community health services this week to comply with Covid-secure standards - including social distancing, best practice hygiene, adequate ventilation, and other infection prevention control measures. It added that:

  • Where primary care "cannot be delivered as Covid-19 secure through all other means" then both clinical and non-clinical roles, "not otherwise required to use personal protective equipment, should wear a face mask; worn to prevent the spread of infection from the wearer". It goes on to recommend a Type 1 or Type II face mask, and where there is a sufficient supply of Type IIR masks these can be used for these roles, too.
  • "Where a Covid-19 secure environment cannot be maintained, patients and members of the public entering primary and community healthcare premises should be advised to use face coverings in line with government advice."

Read the full guidance

Members working in primary eye care settings should note; this does not change existing guidance from the College of Optometrists.    

 

Apply for the clinical entrepreneur training programme 

This year, the NHS clinical entrepreneur training programme recruitment process will be conducted online, with applications closing at 1pm on 13 October. 

NHS England and NHS Improvement's Innovation, Research and Life Sciences group run the programme. It welcomes applications from a diverse range of clinical and non-clinical healthcare professionals who are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. The programme also offers mentoring, exclusive networking, and training to develop innovative ideas into products and businesses to benefit NHS patients.  

Learn more about the programme by watching the video below.

To apply for a place, register for an account on the Programme Management Office Research Management System

 

Public's attitudes on health and social care following Covid-19 

The Health Foundation and Ipsos MORI have found that public confidence in accessing NHS services has increased from 52% in May to 77%. 

Another result from the polling data was that people at higher risk of Covid-19, including people from BAME backgrounds, were more concerned about accessing hospital-based services. At the same time, there was more confidence in accessing local primary care services; for example, 89% felt comfortable accessing their local GP. 

Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, has encouraged people to seek help for general health problems throughout the pandemic.  

 

LOCSU updates 

Last week, we correctly reported on LOCSU's announcement about changes to the OptoManager platform. LOCSU has since clarified that it is supporting Primary Eyecare Companies (PECs) to select alternative IT platforms following the conclusion of its 10-year relationship with its existing IT provider. Read more

LOCSU has also released a new podcast exploring its plan to refresh its pathway for people with learning disabilities. Read more and listen to the podcast.   

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