08 January 2021
FODO’s Friday roundup – 8 January 2021
In this week’s roundup:
- Vaccination update
- OFNC update
- National lockdown and clinical guidance
- Outcome of UK negotiations with the EU
- New Year’s Honours
Many of you have been in touch to ask about the Covid-19 vaccination programme. We are working closely with the ABDO, AOP and the College of Optometrists to monitor vaccine rollout. Access our joint vaccination update, which explains what to expect and the status of vaccine rollout across the UK.
FODO members with any questions can contact us in the usual way by emailing [email protected].
The OFNC has published an update on the impact of the new lockdown on practices in England.
The OFNC and NHS England have agreed to work together to monitor activity levels and will continue to meet frequently to assess any changes to the current situation and discuss the parameters under which NHS England may consider further intervention to support providers.
GOS contractors are invited to contact their OFNC representative body in confidence with information about the viability of services as a result of the new restrictions. The OFNC will draw on this information (in anonymised form) in its work with NHS England. FODO members can email [email protected]
In our 5 January member update, we explained how England and Scotland had entered national lockdowns and that members should continue to follow official Covid-19 and College of Optometrists guidance. Since that update
- New coronavirus regulations in England and Scotland confirm ophthalmic and audiology services can remain open.
- The College of Optometrists has advised the sector to follow its amber guidance. It has now also published FAQs on the amber phase
- The Scottish Government has confirmed that opticians should continue to meet patients’ needs following official Covid-19 guidance. Optometry Scotland has welcomed the news.
- The GOC has published a statement on national lockdowns advising that is Covid-19 statements remain in effect to support delivery of care.
- Bernie Chang, President, Royal College of Ophthalmologists, has called on the sector to “prioritise patients with the most need and protect patients from risk of sight loss” during the latest phase of the pandemic. Read more.
The UK and the EU agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement on 24 December. The good news is most members won’t have to study the 1,246 page legally worded agreement. Here is a quick way to get up to speed.
If you want to download a checklist of what might change for you, use the UK government checker tool.
Free movement of goods has ended. The trade deal means there will be no new tariffs on importing and exporting goods to the EU, but more customs paperwork is involved. However, in most cases, suppliers will manage this additional complexity on your behalf. The Government has also produced a step-by-step guide to importing goods and exporting goods should you need this.
The free movement of persons has ended, but:
- The Common Travel Area (CTA) remains in place. It means British and Irish citizens can work in either country, including on a self-employed basis, without needing any permission from the authorities
- EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who were resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme – applications are free
- A new UK points-based immigration system applies to people arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021. It covers EU citizens moving to the UK to work. Optometrists and other health professionals currently qualify for a Health and Care Visa (Appendix D), while optometrists and dispensing opticians can also apply via the Skilled Worker Route (Appendix E). From 1 January 2021, EEA applicants will need to apply via the GOC’s non-UK international registration process.
FODO is a member of the CBI, and our policy team would recommend that business owners review the CBI Brexit bulletin, which gives a quick overview of key areas.
Optometrist Tanjit Dosanjh, Founder and CEO, The Prison Opticians Trust, has received an OBE in this New Year’s Honours. The honour recognises his services to optometry in prisons and reducing re-offending with the organisation he founded and leads. The Prison Opticians Trust provides eye care to more than 14,000 prisoners a year and offers training opportunities to reduce re-offending.
Commenting on his OBE, Tanjit said: “I hope this OBE helps me to establish optical training for prisoners on a much larger scale and encourages others to get involved with working with prisons.”
Sarah Joyce, Superintendent Optometrist at ASDA, also received a BEM services to Primary Optical Care during the Covid-19 response. Sarah said she was honoured and thanked all her colleagues for their support. Optometrist Ruth Perrott also received an MBE for her services to people with sight impairments in Africa.