16 October 2020
FODO’s Friday roundup – sector news 16 October
- All GOS contractors in England should register for free PPE
- NHS Mail Sign-up in England
- REMINDER: VAT on PPE (UK)
- FutureNHS Collaboration Platform
- Covid updates
- E-GOS rollout delayed
- GOC consultations
- FODO AGM and 2020 Annual Report
- Other sector news
In England, all GOS contractors are being encouraged to register with the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) PPE Portal to order Covid-19 PPE for NHS work, free of charge.
The DHSC wants all primary care providers to have “a resilient route for getting free Covid-19 PPE”. At the request of OFNC, the DHSC has now increased the order limits on the Portal to meet the needs of larger providers and increased demand through the winter months.
You need an NHS email address to register with the PPE Portal so you can order DHSC funded PPE. Learn more and register now.
Some FODO members have signalled that they are having problems signing up to NHS mail in all their practices. Please let us know at [email protected] if your company is experiencing similar problems and we will try to help. For example by working with you, NHS England, NHS Digital and the NHS Business Services Authority to resolve specific issues.
Being signed up to NHS mail is important not only for PPE supplies but also as this will become the main channel of communication between NHS England and contractor in the future.
Members across the UK who are purchasing their own PPE are reminded that the temporary VAT zero rating for PPE ends on 31 October 2020.
The NHS England FutureNHS Collaboration Platform which is linked to the Outpatients Restoration and Transformation Programme in England, now includes an Eye Care Hub. The hub aims are to support the immediate restoration of outpatient services, prevent sight loss by improving access to care, avoid unnecessary face to face outpatient attendances, and support new ways of working across primary, secondary and community eye care services.
You can register for the Eye Care Hub here and ask questions and join in debate across the community of practice as well as having access to pathways and commissioning guidance that are in development.
In England, the government has announced three new local Covid alert levels, also known as local lockdown levels.
The Prime Minister has confirmed that at this stage the plan is that “non-essential retail, schools and universities will remain open in all levels”. As healthcare providers, opticians are classified as essential retail and can also remain open at all three alert levels.
In Scotland, the First Minister has announced that face coverings now have to be used in all communal areas at work.
Across the UK, many regions are in local lockdown measures, but the NHS and private healthcare remain open, and opticians should continue to serve the needs of local patients in a Covid-secure way. Access FODO’s Covid resource hub for more support and advice on working safely throughout the pandemic.
The College of Optometrists has now published new FAQs on its Covid-19 hub
- England and Wales: Should I display an NHS QR code in the practice window or maintain a log of people who visit the practice for unplanned appointments?
- I have been advised to self-isolate by the Test and Trace/Test and Protect team after a patient who attended the practice for a sight test has tested positive for Covid-19. What should I do?
- Should I use the NHS Test and Trace or Protect Scotland app on my phone while at work in a healthcare setting?
PCSE has “identified a number of service improvements” it would like to make to ensure continuity of service as more contractors start to use e-GOS in England. It has therefore paused onboarding of any new contractors for the time being to ensure a period of system stability.
Contractors already using e-GOS will not be affected by the temporary pause.
Full sector rollout will resume once PCSE makes the necessary improvements. Read more.
We are currently preparing FODO responses to the following GOC consultations:
- Education and training requirements for GOC approved qualifications. This consultation seeks views on proposals to update requirements for qualifications leading to registration as an optometrist or a dispensing optician. Deadline 19 October
- Acceptance criteria policy for GOC business registrants. The criteria set out when the GOC can open an investigation against a business registrant. Deadline 29 October
- Covid-19 statements. The GOC has issued guidance to support registrants in meeting eye health needs throughout the pandemic. It is now seeking views on the role of these statements in the future. Deadline 7 January 2021.
If you wish to express any views on these issues please email us at [email protected] at least 48 hours before any of the consultation deadlines.
Thank you to members who have shared their views already
This year’s FODO AGM was held in a virtual format on 6 October, providing an opportunity to highlight the achievements that characterised 2019 and the work that has gone into supporting members during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lynda Oliver was unanimously re-elected as FODO Chair to see FODO and the sector through a time of change and transformation. Similarly, Directors Paul Carroll, Stephen Hannan, William Stockdale and Glenn Tomison were re-elected and Hal Rollason reappointed as FODO Honorary Treasurer.
Managing Director Harjit Sandhu said: “In light of the pandemic, we have upped our operations to seven days a week to support members with bespoke advice, whenever they needed it, in addition to normal on-call arrangements. We have also focused on maximising cost reductions through remote and agile working and the planned sale of the HQ building. This will enable us to reinvest in even more membership support during 2021.”
Chair Lynda Oliver outlined FODO’s plans to meet members needs throughout the pandemic and beyond. She said: “We will constantly be reviewing what we do to support members to help them adapt to ever-changing circumstances and meet patients’ needs.”
This year’s AGM was delayed due to the pandemic and the next AGM is planned for May 2021.
GOC Chair, Gareth Hadley, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his services to the optical sector.
Following a high profile career in the railway industry and HM prison service, Gareth has been an equally powerful driver for improvement at the GOC. He instigated the development of the Standards for Optical Business, has overseen the commissioning of the Optical Consumer Complaints Service, and the launch and progress of the Education Strategic Review and review of Continuing Education and Training as well as significant improvements in the GOC’s fitness to practise system. Read more.
This week, the College of Optometrists responded to a petition on examination testing times during the pandemic. It set out how its clinical guidance “states that clinicians should have sufficient time to perform the required infection control procedures and complete all clinically indicated tests”. It added that it “does not recommend a minimum or maximum testing time as each clinician and practice should determine an appointment time that is appropriate for the practice set-up, demographic and number of support staff available.”
ABDO has appointed Dr Robert Cubbidge as principal of ABDO College. He will start in July 2021 when he takes over from Jo Underwood who is retiring.
ABDO has submitted its response to the GOC’s latest consultation on reforming education and training and has shared its ideas on alternatives the GOC might want to consider. Read ABDO’s alternative way forward for the ESR.
This year’s BCLA conference will be online, with anyone registered to attend the Birmingham event automatically transferred to the online event. This year’s conference, which takes place on the 8 November, will include a new virtual exhibition and GOC-approved interactive CET.