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23 December 2022

FODO member update – 23 December

This week:

FODO opening hours over the festive period

FODO will be closed on 27 and 2 January, but we will be on hand to assist members between 28 and 30 December. So, if you need anything, please email [email protected]

We will return to regular operating hours and service levels on 3 January 2023. 

Optician reports on cuts to NHS vouchers in Wales

This week, the Optician reported on Optometry Wales's (OW) concerns about cuts to NHS vouchers for children and people on means-tested benefits.
The article was clear that OW is "strongly opposed to any change to vouchers, but the Welsh government insisted on a reduction" and that the Welsh government's plans would "reduce access to NHS eye care for children and patients on means-tested benefits".
Quoting OW, Optician reports that the Welsh government's plans are based on "the cost of a limited selection of lenses and frames [which] does not represent the full range of incurred cost across all practices and that practices might struggle to offer what they do now within the voucher range".

Read the Optician article. 

GOS contractors - contract assurance in England

NHS commissioning teams will contact contractors in England to submit their Quality in Optometry (QiO) information. This is part of the agreed three-year cycle for GOS contractors to demonstrate compliance with GOS contract requirements.

PCSE Online and eGOS update

PCSE has reported that some users continue to "experience intermittent performance issues with PCSE Online and eGOS". It advises providers experiencing problems to store but not to submit claims until it confirms the issue has been resolved. Members in England affected by this should continue to check PCSE email updates. 

GOC appoints new Council members

The GOC has appointed William Stockdale as a new registrant Council member and Ken Gill as a new lay Council member. The Privy Council appointed both members who will take up their new roles on 1 January 2023.
William said: "At a time of unprecedented change within our profession, I am delighted to be joining the GOC Council and look forward to the challenge of ensuring outstanding eye care for the public." Read more 

FODO statement - medical malpractice insurance

We have published a statement on medical malpractice insurance to help people check whether they need to buy separate medical malpractice insurance if they are covered by their employer. Read our statement. This supplements our longstanding online advice and pricing information for employed GOC registrants. 

First phase of plan to assess vision and hearing health

First-phase funding has been raised to conduct an initial vision and hearing loss survey in Cambridge and Peterborough in 2023. It is hoped that this will be stage one in a first-ever UK National Eye Health and Hearing Study (UKNEHS) to obtain better data on UK eye and hearing health needs. Read more.  

Optometry First in 2022 and beyond

In February, all sector bodies supported the call to action for Optometry First. Since then, pilots have been under way with NHS commissioners and practices working together across several regions in England. This week, new LOCSU CEO Janice Foster shares her views in this interview about the future of the sector-wide initiative. 

LOCSU commissioning map revealed

A new map published by LOCSU shows 35% of place-based commissioners in England now have all LOCSU core pathways. A further 63% have at least one and only 2% have no enhanced eye care services commissioned at all.
Core pathways include urgent eye care (MECS & CUES), cataract care and glaucoma referral filtering.
Alan Tinger, FODO director, said: "This is pleasing news and shows how eye care should be provided through optical practices that wish to offer such services to meet ICB population needs outside hospital and closer to home."   
He added: "The challenge now is to widen take up and to build volume to take the pressure off hospital colleagues. Some FODO members have been in touch to ask how many patients are being seen through these pathways. We have asked LOCSU for the data and will report back when we learn more."
Read the LOCSU update

Cataract surgery task and finish groups

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and NHS England have worked together, through task and finish groups, to publish guidance on 'cataract commissioning, the referral and post-operative pathways, and training in independent sector providers'.
One of the recommendations is that where the same provider location operates across several ICBs, NHS commissioners should consider "joint contracting arrangements under a host commissioner. This may require some standardisation of the service models, prior approval schemes and expectations across ICBs but will simplify contract management and ensure coverage". Read more

Other sector news

Optometry Wales is providing the following free CPD to GOC registrants:

  • 1 point. 24 January 2023 at 6.30pm. It will cover parts of the new contract in Wales. Register
  • 2 interactive CPD points.16 January 2023, 6.30pm. It will cover professionalism in optometry and leadership in practice. Register.

Optometrists Sharon Beatty and Sarah Schumm (current Optometry Wales chair) will start new roles as clinical advisers for Optometry Wales. Read more.
RNIB has made a renewed call for the right of people with vision loss to vote independently and in secret. Read more about the RNIB's concerns and the action it is taking.
Researchers have used 3D bioprinting to create eye tissue. Learn more.

Sight loss charities have called for free rail travel for blind and partially sighted people and their companions. Read more


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