FODO on behalf of the Optical Confederation has responded to NHS England’s postimplementation review of the Accessible Information Standard (AIS). We have highlighted that the vast majority of practicable and reasonable adjustments were a routine part of care in our sector long before the standard or indeed equalities legislation. It is what operating in a competitive market environment means ie we compete for each and every customer. However we have also raised as a specific problem with the increase in patients, encouraged by some charities, requesting unaffordable BSL interpreters, significantly in excess of the NHS sight test fee. Our response calls on NHS England to put in place either funding or partnership working arrangements so that such services are freely accessible to community optical providers and their patients. We have also reminded NHS England that they have not yet developed their promised guidance on the acceptability of using willing relatives and friends to interpret in optical practice.
See our full response.