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06 May 2022

FODO member update - 6 May


This week:

Confirmed move to green on 10 May

The College of Optometrists has confirmed that health systems across the UK support moving to the College's 'Green' phase from Tuesday 10 May.
Key messages from the College are:

  • The GOC amber phase easements will not apply from 10 May
  • Cease Covid-19 specific decontamination protocols
  • Cease performing Covid-19 modified eye examinations but continue providing a needs-led examination
  • Physical distancing is no longer a requirement in primary eye care settings in England and Scotland. Changes to physical distancing guidance in NI and Wales are pending
  • You should revert to following the College Guidance for Professional Practice and your nation's IPC guidance for healthcare settings.

The College also reminds the sector that living with Covid will mean some measures continue to apply. These include:

  • Practice staff should continue to wear a fluid-resistant face mask
  • Face coverings should continue to be recommended to service users
  • Following country-specific lateral flow testing guidance.

Read the full College advice

Northern Ireland - Covid testing and isolation guidance

The NI Department of Health has updated guidance on testing and isolation for healthcare providers. From 4 May, staff with symptoms of Covid-19 should take an LFD test instead of a PCR. It also confirms that staff in patient-facing roles should continue to test twice weekly using LFDs. The guidance also explains what to do if you test positive for Covid-19 or have symptoms but test negative. Read the complete guidance

New Vouchers at a glance - England

Following an increase in GOS voucher values in England, we have updated vouchers at a glance for England. Access your e-copy here. If you would like copies sent to your practice, please let us know by emailing [email protected]

Opticians Act: GOC call for evidence and consultation

Message from Dan Hodgson, head of policy and public affairs, FODO UK:
Thanks to those who have signed up for, or taken part in, a workshop on the GOC consultation. We want to hear your views on the issues that matter most to you. So, contact me to participate in a workshop or set up a private discussion, email your thoughts, and share examples of good practice or links to any evidence you've come across.
This is one of the most important pieces of work we will do this year and it has the potential to affect the next 30 years of eye care, so we must hear from as many members as possible to inform our response.
The consultation looks at the parts of the Act that are directly related to public safety (patients, services and functions, delegation and supervision, sight testing, supply of lenses and devices, business registration/regulation etc.). The GOC is also looking to future-proof the Act and its policies to account for workforce planning, changing priorities in the NHS, advances in technology etc.
Contact me directly to get involved: [email protected]

Call to standardise school screening in England

The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) has identified inconsistent services and pathways linking children who screen positive for vision impairment during their school assessments to ongoing care with specialist diagnostic and clinical management services. The CCEHC recommends:

  1. A dedicated post-vision screening service should be commissioned for children who screen positive following their vision screening assessment
  2. Services are delivered through locally agreed pathways and governance processes and locally agreed service specifications for commissioning are developed.

Learn more.

New optometry programmes approved

The GOC has confirmed that the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) MSci Optometry and MSc Optometry programmes have been fully approved by GOC Council following a recent quality assurance visit in January 2022.
Rupal Lovell-Patel, UCLan's academic lead for vision sciences at the School of Medicine, said: "It's fantastic news to receive this accreditation from the regulator for optical professions in the UK. This is the culmination of years of hard work from colleagues in the School and I'm delighted for everybody involved". Read more

Babies to get sight-saving new test for eye cancer in the womb

Babies identified as being at risk of developing retinoblastoma can now benefit from early monitoring and treatment, increasing the chance of saving sight and lives thanks to a new test developed at Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust.
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: "Early diagnosis is vital to ensure these babies are given every opportunity to see, and the best chance of survival". 

Other sector news

GOC has approved a trailing competencies process for international applicants who are required to complete more competencies before GOC registration. Read more


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