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19 March 2021

FODO member update – 19 March

This week:

Health Secretary - IT innovation can help reduce unnecessary trips to hospital

Matt Hancock has spoken about the role technology will play in the future of healthcare in England.  

Commenting on Electronic Eyecare Referral Systems (EeRS), he said that NHSX had started the process of allowing "images to flow from high-street opticians to ophthalmology clinics", which would "mean quicker and more accurate advice for patients, and they will reduce unnecessary trips to hospital".
The Health Secretary added: "I want to see much more of this big thinking about how we can use technology to fundamentally transform care."

Read the full DHSC press release, which covers wider system reforms.

Members who have questions about EeRS can email us at [email protected]

Leading ophthalmologist calls for urgent action

Professor Peter Shah, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, has said it is now time to "transform and reconfigure glaucoma care with some speed" to "preserve the gift of sight".
Writing for the Royal College of Ophthalmologist, Professor Shah said: "National demand-capacity mismatch in glaucoma care has been well articulated by many, including members of our own Royal College. Such is the scale of the daunting task ahead of us that many Consultant Ophthalmologists understandably feel a little lost." He added that these challenges could be solved by working collaboratively, including by harnessing technology and the skills of other health professionals.
Read Professor Shah's full blog.

Primary eye care teams in Wales to receive bonus payment

The Welsh NHS has announced that primary eye care staff will receive a bonus to thank them for their work during the pandemic. The NHS will pay a bonus of £735 per person (£500 after basic rate of tax and national insurance contributions). The Welsh Government said it is now working to finalise the scheme's details. Optometry Wales will keep members up to date.

SME Brexit Support Fund

Smaller business members can apply for grants of up to £2,000 to help them adapt to new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU. Learn more to see if you might benefit from this support

NHS Provider Selection regime: Consultation on proposals

Since our last update on healthcare reforms on 12 February, the FODO policy team has continued to work with members and sector partners to analyse the potential impacts of proposed changes to professional regulations in the UK and commissioning rules in England. We are now working on our response to the NHS Provider Selection Regime consultation. Members who would like to take part in this work should email us at [email protected]

Other sector news

100% Optical will take place online from 23-24 May 2021. The two-day virtual event will offer CET points and includes an opportunity to network with suppliers. Read more and pre-register your delegate place.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) Data Commons now enables researchers to access data from patients with macular degeneration who participated in the Age-related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2). Learn more.
The College of Optometrists has appointed Lizzy Ostler, formerly Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Brighton, as its new director of education. Lizzy will work with the College's education team and UK-wide stakeholders "to develop and deliver a high quality ongoing educational experience for student and practising optometrists to ensure the profession is equipped to meet future challenges". Read more

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