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19 February 2021

FODO member update – 19 February


This week


Global Eye Health: vision beyond 2020

This week, The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: vision beyond 2020 was published. David Hewlett, FODO Director, reflects on the UK's major public health wins and the road ahead. Read FODO Director David's blog on the landmark Lancet Commission report.

Read David's blog here.


Optometry scheme leads to drop in hospital referrals in Wales

An Independent Prescribing scheme in Cwm Taf Morgannwg in Wales has led to significant reductions in hospital referrals since it began in October 2020.

Of the 300 patients seen, 90% have avoided a referral to their GP or hospital, saving 250 appointments at the hospital's eye department.


Clinical Council recommends action on childhood vision screening

Covid-19 has delayed Child Vision Screening in England, resulting in a backlog of children who have not been screened. The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) has now made recommendations for alternative, failsafe arrangements for these children to have their vision tested. Learn more about the CCEHC proposals.


Vaccinations update

Most primary eye care teams have now been offered a Covid-19 vaccination appointment.

Members in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales report they have overcome any initial teething problems and have contacted vaccination programmes. 

Unfortunately, there have been some difficulties in certain Clinical Commissioning Group regions in England. To help address any delays, healthcare workers in England can now book their vaccination appointments through the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service. If this does not solve the problem, healthcare staff can call 199 free of charge, 7am to 11pm, seven days a week. This option is open until 28 February.

As before, healthcare staff must provide proof they are in this priority group.


FODO Scotland update

The latest PCA(O)2021(4) reminds all members in Scotland:

  • To ensure you have checked the practice nhs.scot email address, including cut-off dates for PECOS orders covering January-March. Failure to follow the instructions could result in delays in receiving PPE
  • Practice premises with a GOS(S)1 activity level in the January 2021 payment schedule of less than 20% but greater than or equal to 15% will now automatically be brought to the attention of their local NHS Board to assess whether a 'top-up' payment should be made due to Covid-19 pressures
  • Public Health Scotland has updated its IPC guidance for primary care, with optometry covered in section 12.

Read PCA(O)2021(4).

Following the announcement that lateral flow tests will be provided to primary eye care teams in Scotland, OS has issued a guidance note for Scotland members. Read the OS guidance note.

OS is asking GOC registrants to share their views and experience of the vaccinators' programme in Scotland, including those who have enrolled or intend to register as vaccinators. The survey results will help to inform OS discussions with the Scottish Government on how optometry might best support present and future vaccination programmes. The survey closes at 1pm on Monday 22 February. Take part.


Other sector news

The BBC, supported by the College of Optometrists and patient groups, reported five ways to avoid lockdown eye strain this week.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has updated its ophthalmic imaging guidance. Read the February 2021 ophthalmic imaging guidance.

Read how Karishma Parmar and the team transformed walk-in Eye Casualty during the pandemic.

Catch up on the eye news feature, decoding the red eye.

Fight for Sight and RNIB report an increase in the number of people with sight loss reporting experiencing visual hallucinations.

Dr Anne Wright CBE, the GOC's new chair, said she is "excited to begin working with GOC staff, fellow Council members and the wider sector" and that she looked forward to supporting the GOC in "delivering world-class regulation and excellent customer service". Read the full statement.

The HCPC's research into advanced practice found that over 40% of registrants, including orthoptists, felt they were working outside the traditional scope of practice. The study also found 50% of advanced practitioners hold a full master's degree or higher. Read the independent research project.

David Probert has announced that he will leave his position as chief executive at Moorfields Eye Hospital and join University College London Hospitals as chief executive in the summer. Read the full statement

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