22 May 2023
FODO update – GOS reforms Wales
Following our April statement on primary eye care reforms in Wales, Welsh members have contacted us to share feedback and ask for guidance and support.
Hospitals under pressure
Welsh primary eye care providers have shared concerns on behalf of patients who regularly encounter severe waiting times problems for ophthalmology appointments. Long waits can put patients at risk of avoidable sight loss due to delays in care.
FODO members have been crystal clear on this. For the benefit of patients, they fully support providing more care out of hospital and closer to home through enhanced primary eye care.
Urgent need for more detail
Whilst the profession, including the Welsh Optometric Committee, fully supports the need to provide more care closer to home, the sector is waiting for the detail on what providers will be required to deliver.
Without that detail it is hard for members to judge the impact of proposed reforms on patients and whether they can make proposed reforms work at a practice level. The need for more information is even more urgent now that the Welsh Government has published a short, high-level public consultation on the reforms, which closes on 19 June.
Colleagues at Optometry Wales are working flat out to obtain this detail so contractors can make informed decisions and feedback through Optometry Wales to ensure the Welsh Government gets these complex reforms right for patients, practitioners, and practices.
Cost plus data
Many of you have asked if we can share full details of the Welsh Government's cost-plus dispensing model, which the consultation document references.
This detail has not yet been published. We have however noted all concerns about this aspect of the proposals and will summarise them in our response to the consultation.
Meanwhile, we ask members to keep sharing their questions and feedback with us by emailing [email protected], and to consider fully any further advice from Optometry Wales before responding to the public consultation.
Growing concerns about domiciliary care
The sector Domiciliary Eyecare Committee (DEC) is working with all domiciliary colleagues in Wales to ensure Optometry Wales hears your concerns and feeds back to the Welsh Government. FODO plays a lead role on DEC, so please keep sending feedback and your thoughts for potential solutions to any identified issues.
Members have also expressed concerns about the potential unintended consequences of the proposed reforms. This is particularly acute for members serving communities surviving primarily on means-tested benefits.
We will continue to support members understand the potential economic impacts of reforms at an individual patient, practice and national level. Members with specific questions should continue to contact us directly.
FODO will continue to work in partnership with all sector bodies to support Optometry Wales, which is leading this work on the sector's behalf.
Please continue to email us with feedback at [email protected]. We can also arrange one-to-one meetings on request. To discuss anything in more detail, you can email us at the same address.
This is a complex set of reforms with many details still pending, so we would advise members to continue to research, read and analyse all information before submitting a response. The goal, as ever, must be to help the Welsh Government achieve the best outcomes for patients and avoid unintended consequences - goals we all share.
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