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21 October 2022

FODO member update – 21 October

This week:

Sight loss data tool updated

The RNIB has updated its UK Sight Loss Data Tool. It allows users to view local area data easily in a report or as data tables. The tool includes:

  • Estimated number of people with sight loss and projected change
  • Number of ophthalmology appointments by health authority area
  • Demographic data.

Download the latest version of the RNIB Sight Loss Data Tool

Royal College reports concerns about ophthalmology workforce

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) has provided its views on the GMC report on the state of medical education and practice in the UK.

Commenting on the report, RCOphth president Professor Bernie Chang said the report highlighted "the lack of workforce capacity in ophthalmology. Slow growth in the number of ophthalmologists is a key reason why tackling backlogs and meeting patient demand in a timely way is so challenging in many parts of the UK".
Read the full story

In memoriam, Professor Roger Buckley

It is with great sadness that FODO learned this week of the death of Professor Roger Buckley - a doyen in the eye care sector, a long-standing GOC council member, a key figure in the advancement of optometrist prescribing and an enthusiastic bridge between optometry and ophthalmology. Erudite, quietly spoken and unfailingly courteous, Roger made a massive contribution to interprofessional collaboration and patient care. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.  

CPD reminder from the GOC

GOC has tweeted a reminder that registrants must meet their annual CPD points target by the end of 2022. Log in to MyCPD to view your current CPD status. 

CET claims window closing 31 October

Please note that the 2022 Continuing Education and Training (CET) claims window in England will close midnight on 31 October. More than 7,400 CET claims have already been made. Submit your claim using PCSE Online. If you need help, watch this how-to video.

Huddersfield's optometry programme has a new clinic

The University of Huddersfield's Chancellor has opened a new on-campus eye clinic in partnership with the independent opticians' group Valli Opticians. The clinic will provide students on the new Optometry BSc with experience in a modern clinical setting. 

Free wellbeing support for you and your staff

NHS England (NHSE) has a new mental wellbeing self-check tool open to all in primary eye care. There will also be support through staff mental health hubs and coaching, physical health support, financial support and training for line managers in having safe and effective wellbeing conversations

NHS estate costs revealed

NHS Digital has published data showing the cost of running the NHS estate was £11.1bn, an 8.8% increase since 2020/21. It has also said it would cost £10.2bn to eradicate 'backlog maintenance'. Read more.
Daniel Hodgson, head of policy and public affairs at FODO, said: "These statistics are a stark reminder of the scale of NHS infrastructure and especially hospital costs. In the past, the NHS has looked at setting up new models of care without factoring in ongoing infrastructure costs, especially the vast estate's maintenance and depreciation costs. That is why FODO and sector partners always point out the massive gains the NHS achieves from using the primary eye care infrastructure, which is invested in and maintained by the optical sector." 

NHS England's operating framework

NHS England has published its latest operating framework, which sets out how it will operate with Integrated Care Boards and Systems in the new structure created by the 2022 Health and Care Act. The plan is to work on a no-surprises basis, with the framework stating:

  • "Relationships between NHS England, ICBs and providers will be mature, respectful and collegiate, underpinned with effective lines of communication and a 'one team' philosophy, so there are 'no surprises' regarding the actions of each party."

FODO has long supported joined-up partnership approaches and welcomes this commitment from NHS England. 

Uncertainty at Westminster

Our 23 September update reported the main points in the mini-budget for members.
Many things have changed since then, including U-turns on most proposals.
The Chancellor's 17 October statement confirmed the government at the time still planned to abolish the Health and Social Care Levy, change stamp duty thresholds, increase the annual investment allowance to £1 million and continue wider reforms to investment taxes.
However, there would now be no cut to dividend tax rates and no reversal of off-payroll working reforms. Plans to reduce the basic income tax rate have also been paused "until economic circumstances allow for it to be cut".
The Treasury would also review the government's energy support package earlier than planned to assess whether it should extend beyond April 2023. 

Other sector news

RCOphth has launched its new online learning platform, INSPIRE. The College said it was a platform for lifelong learning "for all eye care professionals in a dynamic educational environment". You can join a webinar on 10 November from 8-9.30am to learn more about the new platform.
The College of Optometrists has advised the public about the risk of wearing novelty contact lenses this Halloween without a prescription. Read more.
The Roche-funded 'Eyes Have It' hosted a Westminster reception this week. Speaking at the event, Will Quince MP, minister of state at the Department of Health and Social Care, highlighted Optometry First plans and said he is committed to improving eye care and adding an 'E' for eyes to the A, B, C, and D for healthcare.
NEI invests $50m in ocular pain research.
NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre receives £20m. Read more.
Fight for Sight reports on building a model to investigate retinoblastoma growth. 

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