Corona Virus Update
Please, find below details and links to important information in regards to the ungoing Coronavirus Pandemic.
If you have any queries regarding guidance or related to the locally commissioned service please contact your local clinical governance and performance lead or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>.
COVID-19: OFNC Announcement on Support for GOS Contractors in England
20 March 2020
The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) and its members (ABDO, AOP, BMA and FODO) are working closely with NHS England on supporting GOS contractors in England through the coronavirus crisis.
NHS England has confirmed that eye care is an essential part of the NHS and primary care service, both of itself and in keeping pressure off other NHS services such as GPs and A&E. NHS England’s aim is to keep essential eye care operating as far as possible to ensure essential and urgent eye health needs are met whist protecting patients, staff and the public.
Issues that the OFNC and NHS England are urgently working on with the aim of supporting optical practices in England, include:
- The financial implications for practices of a downturn in GOS fee income because of the crisis
- More flexibility around GOS contractual requirements, to help practices and domiciliary providers give patients the care they need as quickly and safely as possible, and to support practices who may not have the staff available to provide services, due to illness or self-isolation
- Guidance to help patients, optical practices and other parts of the NHS understand the GOS services that optical practices in England will continue to provide during the crisis and to direct patients to them
- How the whole sector can work together to mobilise new services in optical practices as quickly as possible, to meet essential and urgent eye care needs during the crisis and reduce demand on GP and hospital services.
OFNC and its member bodies are working very closely with LOCSU, which is co-ordinating the sector-wide work on new services, and with the General Optical Council, College of Optometrists, Optometry Wales, Optometry Scotland and Optometry Northern Ireland and government to streamline communications and provide evidence-based advice to the front-line throughout this crisis.
We and the NHS in all countries thank you for your support to the population at this difficult time. We will share more information about these measures as soon as we can.
At LOCSU we are aware that there has been a range of information in circulation relating to Coronavirus and potential risks and processes for dealing with patients who may have been exposed to the virus.
It is important that all LOCs work within consistent and verified advice as such LOCSU would direct all LOCs to:
- General Coronavirus advice for clinicians: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/
- The AOP have constructed a page drawing together advice and support for dealing with Coronavirus: https://www.aop.org.uk/advice-and-support/clinical/clinical-governance/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-advice
In addition, further advice can be found on government and NHS websites:
- UK government: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
- Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance
- Novel coronavirus: guidance for health professionals
- Novel coronavirus: guidance for primary care
- Novel coronavirus: guidance to assist professionals in advising the general public
- World Health Organisation
The sector bodies are now part of a weekly virtual call with NHS England and information from those will be circulated as necessary. For further LOC advice and guidance please contact your local Optical Lead.