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24 September 2021

FODO member update - 24 September

This week:

Get involved - GOC consultation on new requirements for CLOs

The GOC has launched a consultation on proposals to update its requirements, underpinning the approval of qualifications for specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician (CLO).

The consultation seeks views on three inter-related documents: Outcomes for Approved Qualifications, Standards for Approved Qualifications, and Quality Assurance and Enhancement Method.

These will then replace 'Visit Handbook Guidelines for the approval of Training Institutions' and 'Providers for Schemes for Registration for United Kingdom Contact Lens Opticians' (published November 2007) and the 'Contact Lens Speciality Core Competencies' published in 2011.

The consultation will close on 13 December 2021. Learn more and get involved

Member update on EeRS in England

In response to questions about IT connectivity in England, we have published a specific update which you can access here

Scotland - online portal opens for Covid-19 booster vaccine

If you missed it, we published an update on how primary eye care teams can arrange their booster Covid vaccination in Scotland. Catch up here

Wales - Minister makes a statement on primary eye care services

To mark National Eye Health Week Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Health and Social Services, made a statement in the Senedd this week on the 'The Future Approach for Optometry Services in Wales' published in March. She said the Welsh Government's ambitious approach is "transformative, changing the way eye health services are delivered". 

The Minister set out how the hospital eye service had "extremely limited" capacity due to workforce pressures. Now was the time to take advantage of primary eye care services to meet the needs of local people.

She outlined the need to monitor the new contract arrangements carefully, and added: "We will establish a new national Wales eye care service committee, which will have a (sic) clear terms of reference, including performance management against contractual obligations and deliverable patient outcomes."

Read the complete statement

Members who have any questions about planned reforms in Wales can get in touch by emailing us at [email protected]

National Eye Health Week

As an official partner of #EyeWeek, we hope you have had a chance to raise awareness about eye care.

On social media this week, @myvisionmatters said: "Millions of us are risking future sight loss because we fail to have regular eye tests. Watch our short film & discover more about how to keep your eyes and vision healthy" and published this video.

The College of Optometrists led a campaign to encourage people to visit their optometrist for help with eye problems.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, clinical adviser at the College, said that recent College research showed that "sadly many people are not prioritising their eye health at a time when they may have concerns about their vision. We know from polls that people may have had concerns about the safety of visiting an optometrist in the past, but please be assured that optometrists are open and are safe to visit. Your practitioner will ensure all the appropriate safety measures are in place."

Finally, BAME Vision launched a new website on 1 September to mark National Eye Health Week and raise awareness about its work. 

ABDO and College position on mandatory vaccinations

ABDO and the College of Optometrists have said all primary eye care staff "should have all recommended vaccinations unless they are medically exempt".
However, in response to the Department of Health and Social Care consultation on making vaccinations mandatory, they said they "do not support mandatory vaccination as a condition of deployment in a healthcare setting. We believe that vaccine uptake will be maximised where optometrists, dispensing opticians and practice staff are supported to make their own decisions, having been provided with clear, evidence-based information on the benefit and value of vaccinations".
Read the complete statement

Updates from the General Optical Council

Following a review of its Illegal Practice Strategy, the GOC proposed several key changes at its third Council meeting of the year.

The changes are based on current and emerging risks and improved working with other agencies and online platforms like Amazon. A 12-week public consultation on the strategy starts in October.

The Council also approved the 2020-21 Annual Report and financial statements, covering the progress and developments the GOC made over the financial year. The GOC will publish the final Annual Report on its website once Parliament has approved it, expected in October 2021.

The meeting also covered the GOC Equality and Diversity Data Monitoring Report. Analysis from this year's data shows ethnic diversity of staff to be higher than the national demographics, where around 87% of people in the UK are White/White British compared to 53.94% at the GOC.

Council's next meeting occurs on 8 December.

Read the Public Council Agenda and Papers. 

Other sector news

The College has published its CET to CPD: What you need to know guide.
The Optician reports on research at Queen's University Belfast, which used graders to help manage diabetic macular oedema and proliferative diabetic retinopathy, suggesting this might save about £14 per patient. 

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