25 March 2021
Department of Health and Social Care confirms first GOS sight test fee increase since 2015
The Department of Health and Social Care has said it will increase GOS sight test fees by 1.9% from April 2021. The GOS CET allowances and pre-registration supervision grants will also rise by the same percentage.
The fees for GOS sight tests in England were last increased in April 2015 by 1%. Since then the sector has seen five consecutive years with no fee increase, while contractors' costs have continued to rise.
The OFNC had pressed for urgent action to address the widening gap between NHS sight test fees and inflation, and the relative underfunding of primary eye care compared to other NHS care.
Paul Carroll, OFNC Chair, said: "The 1.9% increase, welcome though it is, does not fully address the erosion of GOS fees by inflation in recent years."
"After 5 years without any increase to reflect the rising costs of care, a 1.9% increase in GOS fees now will understandably disappoint a loyal and hard-working sector, which has gone the extra mile in keeping eye care services running over the past year when hospital care was often just not available. Nevertheless, we take it as a signal that the Government and NHS England have at last understood the value of primary eye care and the need to move towards fairer treatment of GOS contractors in the future."
"We hope this is the first small step on a journey to a properly funded national sight-testing infrastructure to help meet growing eye health need, focus on prevention and deliver more care outside hospital closer to home."
The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) is the national negotiating body for eye care in England with the Westminster Parliament, the Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England-NHS Improvement. It comprises the leaders of the UK representative bodies: ABDO, AOP, FODO and BMA (for OMPs) and works in partnerships with the College of Optometrists and the General Optical Council.