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01 September 2023

FODO member update - 1 September


This week:

NHS England - Special schools eye care service engagement

The special schools eye care service has been running as a proof-of-concept since May 2021 and will end in March 2024. The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have confirmed they will expand sight testing in all special schools from April 2024.
NHS England is now seeking views on its engagement document,
In school eye testing for pupils in special schools in England. NHS England needs all responses by 5pm on 16 October. Learn more and take part.
Please note, FODO will be working with sector partners to review this engagement document. Contact us if you would like to be involved in our response by emailing [email protected]

GOC consultation on verification of contact lens specifications and definition of aftercare statement

The GOC is consulting on a draft position statement setting out that it will not enforce the requirement to verify a copy of a contact lens specification where a sale of prescription contact lenses is made under the general direction of a GOC registrant (or registered medical practitioner). The statement also provides a definition of aftercare following the sale of prescription contact lenses under general direction. The consultation will close on 24 October 2023. Learn more.
FODO will analyse and respond to this consultation on members' behalf. To contribute to our response, please email [email protected]

Welsh Government publishes outcome of ophthalmology summit

The Welsh Government has published a summary report from an ophthalmology ministerial summit from late last year.
It held the ministerial summit with ophthalmologists in Wales to discuss declining ophthalmology performance and because delays in accessing care were increasing patients' risk of sight loss or irreversible harm.
The minister for health and social services addressed the conference and shared her concerns about 'increases in harm being noted due to these long waits'. She also expected ophthalmology to be the 'worst performing specialty' against the 52-week new outpatient ambition in December.
Ophthalmologists shared challenges they face, including Wales having the least number of ophthalmologists per capita versus the rest of the UK, serious recruitment and retention issues, and much of the estate being unfit for purpose, therefore limiting activity.
The report acknowledges that the new five-level WGOS contract 'will enable real improvements for patients. With this and the investment in ophthalmology already made, there is an expectation to increase capacity and reduce waiting times'. 

LEGO® Braille Bricks

The RNIB has welcomed the launch of LEGO® Braille Bricks, which help children with vision impairment to learn numbers and the alphabet. The charity said this new product reminds everybody about the continued relevancy and power of braille.  Read more

Other sector news

  • Optometry Wales is hosting a free CPD event on dry eye on 26 September at 6.30pm. Learn more and register.
  • Optometry Scotland has a new website, which includes an 'events and CPD' page where you can learn about locally available CPD courses.
  • MyGOC will be offline from 9am today until 8 September for planned maintenance.

Health policy news

NHS England has appointed Professor Claire Fuller, a GP and current chief executive of Surrey Heartlands ICS, as medical director of primary care. Read more.
Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay has confirmed that the Lucy Letby inquiry will become statutory. The decision means the inquiry into the circumstances around her crimes will have legal powers to compel witnesses, including former and current staff, to give evidence. It also indicates that evidence must be heard in public unless the inquiry chair decides otherwise. 


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