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02 July 2021

FODO member update - 2 July

This week:

Important: Changes to ordering lateral flow tests in England

NHS England has advised
that from Monday 5 July 2021, all orders for lateral flow testing kits for primary care staff should be placed through GOV.UK instead of the PCSE site.

Practice staff will be able to input their workplace postcode to ensure the tests are registered as belonging to an NHS staff member. Seven tests will then be posted to their home address.

The aim is to improve compliance with results reporting which is low in primary care.

PCSE has confirmed that it will fulfil any orders placed through PCSE Online until midnight on Sunday 4 July. 

Glaucoma service trialled at Welsh opticians

The BBC reported this week that patients in Wales had suffered "significant" sight loss due to delays caused by Covid. Consultant ophthalmologist Andrew Feyi-Waboso told the BBC this was now a "huge problem".

The Optician
said Mr Feyi-Waboso has led a pilot glaucoma service delivered in primary eye care settings. The service improves access and can help reduce the risk of sight loss due to delays in care. The local Health Board said: "The primary care-based assessment service was the first of its kind in the UK."

Mr Feyi-Waboso said: "The service uses the capacity and skills of local optometrists in the community to relieve the burden on secondary care, with modern electronic sharing of patient information with secondary care providing them with seamless, timely, high-quality eye care."

Ansley Workman, Director RNIB Cymru, said that health boards across the country need to adopt the schemes so people can be seen "quicker (and) more locally". He added that these schemes could also "help free up clinicians' time in hospitals to be able to see people with more complex cases". 

Colleges publish joint statement on post-operative cataract care

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and College of Optometrists have made interim recommendations to discharge patients following routine uncomplicated cataract surgery. In the joint statement, the Colleges said there is "a pressing need to create additional capacity within existing [hospital] resources as soon as possible" and proposed managing low-risk patients outside traditional hospital settings. Read the full statement.

The Royal College followed the statement by publishing resources to deliver "safe, sustainable and efficient" surgery. It said that data analysis shows that demand for cataract surgery will increase by 25% over the next 10 years and double by 2035. 

Covid-19 vaccination update

The UK JCVI is now assessing which population groups to prioritise for the third dose of a Covid vaccine. The JCVI will determine whether millions of vulnerable people should be offered a booster vaccine from September.

The interim guidance advises the NHS to plan for a two-stage Covid-19 vaccination booster in September run alongside the annual flu vaccination programme. The interim guidance states:

Stage 1. The following people should be offered a third dose Covid-19 booster vaccine and the yearly influenza vaccine as soon as possible from September 2021:

  • Adults aged 16 years and over who are immunosuppressed
  • Those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • All adults aged 70 years or over
  • Adults aged 16 years and over who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Frontline health and social care workers.

Stage 2. The following people should be offered a third Covid-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage 1 with equal emphasis on the influenza vaccine's deployment where eligible:

  • All adults aged 50 years and over
  • All adults aged 16 to 49 years who are in an influenza or Covid-19 at-risk group as outlined in the Green Book
  • Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.

The final guidance is expected in September. Read more

Health and Social Care Bill update

Last week, NHS England said it expects the new Health and Social Care Bill "imminently" and that it would be "the most significant NHS primary legislation for a decade". However, a week on, and with Sajid Javid appointed as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, reports say that No. 10 remains unconvinced of the Bill in its current form.

Planned reforms include removing the commissioning of NHS healthcare services from the jurisdiction of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, reforming existing tariff safeguards in favour of more 'flexibility' and establishing Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) on a statutory basis from 1 April 2022 via a new Health and Social Care Bill.

According to the HSJ, there are concerns about key elements of planned reforms, including new powers for the Secretary of State and boundary changes.

We will keep you informed on significant developments throughout this process, but meanwhile, if you have any questions, please email [email protected].  

Get involved

Final reminder - ABDO is reviewing the syllabus for its Level 6 Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing. The consultation closes on 12 July 2021. Take part and learn more.

The College of Optometrists is asking for feedback on its Clinical Management Guidelines (CMG). The consultation closes on 14 July. Take part in the IP optometrists and student consultation  or the consultation on all CMGs

Open consultations

The FODO team is currently reviewing HM Treasury's Fundamental review of business rates and several GOC consultations on your behalf.

We are also reviewing a new government consultation that will affect access to pharmacy services in England. The consultation seeks views on options for implementing a change in the age at which people in England become eligible for free prescriptions from 60 now to 66 years of age. There is no indication at this stage that this is under consideration for other NHS funded care, but we are keeping the situation under close review.

If you have any questions about these consultations or would like to get involved, email us at [email protected]

Other sector news

  • The benefits of myopia control outweigh its risks, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Learn more.
  • The GOC has welcomed the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) report into healthcare professionals' experiences during the pandemic. Read the GOC statement or access the full PSA report.
  • Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Moorfields) and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO) are to relocate from their current buildings on City Road, Islington, to the St Pancras Hospital site, in Camden. Read more.
  • The Charity Commission had placed the RNIB under statutory supervision following an inquiry into safeguarding and other governance concerns. The RNIB has since reviewed and modernised its processes and policies and undertaken "a critical culture change in the organisation around safeguarding". As a result of these improvements, the RNIB is no longer under statutory supervision. Read more.
  • Sheffield University has launched a new three-year ophthalmology advanced practice course. The course is open to optometrists, ophthalmic nurses and orthoptists.



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