24 February 2023
FODO member update - 24 February
- Important - Glaucoma services in Scotland
- Clinical Council raises concerns about the Special School Eye Care Service
- Audit Scotland warns of tough choices ahead
- 100% Optical to take place this weekend
- Healthwatch England warns of GP ‘referrals black hole'
- England and Scotland split again on pay awards for coming year
- Other news
- Policy updates
Important - Glaucoma services in Scotland
The Scottish Government has published an update about the new Community Glaucoma Service (CGS), including information on the different application process phases. Members in Scotland that wish to deliver CGS should read the complete PCA to avoid missing any deadlines.
Clinical Council raises concerns about the Special School Eye Care Service
The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) has urged NHS England to commission a School Eye Care Service for children with special needs. The letter voices concerns about the delay in evaluating the current proof of concept phase of the special schools' programme announced in the NHS Long Term Plan and implementing a long-term solution that benefits all children and young people with special needs. Read the full letter.
FODO is a member of CCEHC, so please let us know if you have any views on this story by emailing [email protected].
Audit Scotland warns of tough choices ahead
The auditor general for Scotland warns that the NHS backlog has continued to increase in the 18 months since the government published its recovery plan. Stephen Boyle said the system remains under pressure and "money is tight, but investment is needed". He added this meant "ministers have to prioritise which NHS aims can be realistically delivered". Read more.
FODO, with Optometry Scotland and other sector partners, is working on implementing the new GOC education and training requirements (ETR) for optometrists and DOs in Scotland from 2024 to 2025. This will require new investment in Scotland, where original plans were to train all optometrists to IP level. It is hoped that announcements about funding will be made soon. We will keep members up to date with any developments.
100% Optical to take place this weekend
As FODO members head to 100% Optical, just a reminder that members of the FODO team will attend but, based on feedback from members we will not have a stand this year. The Executive team and head of policy and public affairs will be available to meet members on 25 February. Please just come up to us when you see us or, to arrange a scheduled catch-up, please email us at [email protected].
Healthwatch England warns of GP 'referrals black hole'
Healthwatch has found that 20% of people referred by their GP for specialist care learned their referral had been lost, rejected or not followed up, calling the situation a 'referrals black hole'. Read more.
Dan Hodgson FODO head of policy and public affairs said: "With GP colleagues under pressure, FODO fully supports NHS England prioritising implementation of universal direct referral from primary eye care to ophthalmology. Done well, this will reduce pressure on GPs and help address the serious issues reported by Healthwatch."
He added: "For us, patient safety is paramount. And, as with all important NHS reforms, this latest programme must be thought through and implemented properly so that patients do not fall through the net. We do not want the NHS to create a new referral black hole for eye care. We, with sector partners, warned in December about the risks of rushing the implementation of new referral systems in an unplanned, uncoordinated and unfunded way. We will continue to work with sector and system partners to ensure systems are safe."
If you receive correspondence from eERS providers or local commissioners that rush top-down implementation without safeguards for patients, please email us at [email protected] or phone us on 020 7298 5151 and ask to speak to the head of policy.
England and Scotland split again on pay awards for coming year
The Scottish Government said it will offer an average 6.5% pay increase to NHS employed staff in 2023/24 . In England, the BBC reports a 3.5% pay rise for millions of public sector workers over the same period, reporting the Treasury as saying 3.5% was affordable. However, organisations representing those affected have widely criticised the offer.
- Job opportunity at Glasgow Caledonian University for lecturer/senior lecturer in vision sciences. Read more.
- BIOS calls on the UK Government to extend independent prescribing to orthoptists to deliver better patient care and reduce pressure on health services across the four nations. Read more.
- RNIB aims to use data and analytics capabilities to provide better services and support to blind and visually impaired people. Read more.
- Optometry Wales continues to host practice visits for members of the Senedd to raise awareness about GOS reforms in Wales.
- Optometry Scotland has published the results of its member survey, with 96% of respondents rating OS's negotiations with the Scottish Government and it influencing roles as the OS's most valuable roles. Read more.
- LOCSU has refreshed the sector's low vision pathway. Read more.
- Fight for Sight celebrates a history of accessible reading for World Book Day 2023.
- A petition, launched by Myopia Focus, calls on the NHS to fund myopia management.
- This is the last week to participate in the short NHS England wellbeing survey. It is open to all primary eye care teams in England.
- Following our update on healthcare regulation last week, we can report that GOC has also responded, welcoming the consultation on the draft s60 order covering General Medical Council reforms, which "will act as a template for the future regulation of other healthcare professionals, including dispensing opticians and optometrists". FODO continues to work with all sector partners in supporting the GOC call for and review of evidence on regulation in eye care.
- The contract has been signed to build the state-of-the-art eye health facility Oriel. The joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Charity will result in services moving to a new integrated centre on the former St Pancras Hospital site in London.
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