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22 October 2021

FODO member update - 22 October

This week:

England: Covid update - patient consultations in primary care

This week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) recommended "a more flexible approach to patient consultations in primary care". UKHSA reiterates the importance of following IPC measures but adds "physical distancing can be reduced from 2 metres to 1 metre in primary care". Read the full update

ABDO and College updates - Covid guidance on self-isolation in England

ABDO has issued a guidance note 'Clarification on England isolation rules for household contacts and senior decision-maker for optical practices'. This states that, if you live with somebody who has Covid-19, you need to self-isolate and take a PCR test.
The Association adds, "If your PCR test is negative and you continue to be asymptomatic, in general circumstances your senior manager will ask you to self-isolate", but that "you can return to work in exceptional circumstances". And explains that ABDO "recognises exceptional circumstances as applying if an optical practice cannot provide all its functions or would have to close completely impacting the delivery of patient care".
The College of Optometrists has also updated its FAQ on self-isolation advice in England. It states that before someone returns to work in the circumstances set out above, "all other contingency measures [should] have been explored based on a risk assessment conducted by an appropriate senior manager within the optical practice". It adds that the risk assessment should be documented, and strict IPC measures should remain in place.
The College has also advised that in this situation clinicians should "not provide direct patient care to people aged over 80 or extremely clinical vulnerable patients."
If you have any questions, please get in touch by emailing us [email protected]. In the meantime, please read NHS England updated guidance on NHS staff and student self-isolation return to work following COVID contact

Wales: Covid update

NHS Wales has updated its guidance to allow asymptomatic staff who live in the same household as those who tested positive for Covid-19 to return to work provided they follow specific guidelines. Members in Wales should read this guidance in full.
NHS Wales has also written to all healthcare providers about a new operational guide to help prepare for winter pressures. The guide reminds providers to continue with IPC measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission. It also advises providers to implement the 'hierarchy of controls' in order: elimination, substitution, engineering, administrative controls and the correct and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Read the guidance in full

College responds to consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment

The College of Optometrists has responded to a consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on making vaccination a condition of deployment in England's health and social care sector. 
The College said it strongly encourages all healthcare workers to have every recommended vaccination unless medically exempt. Also, it did "not support mandatory vaccination as a condition of deployment in a healthcare setting".
The College added that it believed "vaccine uptake will be maximised where optometrists 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". The response to the consultation recommends how DHSC can help maximise vaccine uptake without enforcing a mandatory scheme.
Read the College's complete response. FODO fully supports the College of Optometrists' position. 

GOC publishes updated CET exceptions policy

The GOC has published its Continuing Education and Training (CET) exceptions policy. It sets out the registrar's discretion for not removing registrants who do not meet the statutory minimum CET requirements. In addition, the GOC said the policy "now focuses more clearly on public protection, setting out expectations around maternity, paternity and adoption leave". 

College publishes data standards for refraction and low vision

The College of Optometrists has published templates for secondary care to standardise electronic data collection for refractive error and low vision services. The College said the templates were developed "through expert working groups and consultation with hospitals". It added that this could "help work to clarify and compare the regional and national eye health landscape". Read more.   

Other sector news

The College of Optometrists has advised people to protect their sight this Halloween. The advice comes after College research showed that almost 60% of survey respondents thinking about dressing up will consider wearing novelty contact lenses. Read more.
Hakim Group has acquired Barnard Levit Optometrists and Tompkins Knight & Son (TK&S), the Optician reports

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