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ABDO ORASIS optrafair 2018

Opchat Magazine Professional Matters PagesProfessional Matters News, April to June 2018


For Ophthalmology Section Page Click Here.

New standard processes for second pair and non-tolerance voucher applications.
AOP launches sector-wide optical workforce survey
Clive Marchant Inaugurated as New ABDO President.
Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning publishes new SAFE framework for eye health.
GOS Payments – further delays announced by FODO
High level Education Strategic Review consultation responses show support for new education approach
The Fee freeze continues for a third year running
College of Optometrists appoints new Lead Assessor for the Scheme for Registration
2018 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Student Travel Fellowship Recipients Announced
Trading Standards have challenged the way we display and sell frames.
Universal Credit – Updated OC guidance, March 2018
The last quarters professional matters news stories are obtainable here

New standard processes for second pair and non-tolerance voucher applications.

April 2018

A standard process for submitting applications for second pair and non-tolerance vouchers has been launched by NHS England to take effect immediately. As advised by LOCSU.

From now on, all applications for second pair and non-tolerance vouchers must be sent to your NHS England Regional Local Team (RLT) using the standard national templates.

Guidance documents and the templates to be used are set out below:

Guidance on applying for a second pair voucher

Second pair voucher application form

Guidance on applying for a non-tolerance voucher

Non-tolerance voucher application form

Any second pair and non-tolerance applications received by PCSE from 1 May 2018 will be returned to the contractor with the advice that they need to be submitted direct to the RLT.

AOP launches sector-wide optical workforce survey

April 2018

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has commissioned a sector-wide survey, designed to gain an understanding of career aspirations of optometrists and the experiences of employers.

The AOP will use results from Optometrists' futures: A survey of recruitment, retention and career aspirations of the optometric workforce to inform discussions with employers, public bodies, education providers and other optical bodies – supporting the interests of the wider profession as well as improving services for AOP members specifically.

Chief Executive of the AOP, Henrietta Alderman, said: “We know that one of the biggest issues facing employers in optics, whether independent or multiple, is the recruitment and retention of staff. We also know that the knowledge within the sector about the optometric workforce does not offer any conclusive answers on what motivates practitioners or what factors could change the decisions they make about their careers. We’re therefore keen to hear from optometrists, at all levels and from all backgrounds, to build a picture that is both comprehensive and representative. With that insight we can provide support that is tailored and responsive to the emerging optical landscape.”

The survey, launching on 18 April to AOP members and non-members, is being conducted by independent, not-for-profit research organisation, the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) who will solely manage and analyse the data results.

AOP members will receive an email, from IES, on 18 April containing a unique link to complete the survey. Non-members can access the survey here.

Clive Marchant Inaugurated as New ABDO President.

April 2018

Clive Marchmont
Dispensing Optician Clive Marchant was inaugurated as the new ABDO President in a ceremony at the ABDO Optrafair Dinner in Birmingham on the 15th of April.

Clive, who is also a contact lens optician and director of the Colin Lee group of practices, says, “I'm delighted to take over the ABDO Presidency from Fiona Anderson who has done a fantastic job during her term of office. I now look forward to working with Jo Holmes in her new role as Vice President and the rest of the ABDO board and staff, supporting and enhancing the role of Dispensing Opticians.”

Focussing on highlights for the coming year, he says, “This year we will see the first cohort of contact lens opticians accredited to provide MECS service. This is the first of several initiatives to involve dispensing opticians within the expanding range of enhanced services. We have record numbers of students studying at all levels from level 2 optical assistant to our degree programs and specialised qualifications.

Demand for training has identified the need for our National Resource Centre which will be in the heart of Birmingham and will become the home for ABDO examinations. Opening this summer, it will be a centre of excellence to be used for the benefit of our members along with all the optical profession and our industry partners. We look forward to welcoming all to the centre very soon.”

Special awards were also presented at the gala dinner with the Medal of Excellence going to Richard Crook and the Hamblin Memorial Prize to Keith Cavaye.

Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning publishes new SAFE framework for eye health.

April 2018

On Tuesday, The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC), which represents the leading clinical professions and sight loss charity organisations in the eye-care sector, and whose members include the Optical Confederation, launched a new Systems and Assurance Framework for Eye-health (SAFE)1.

The framework is aimed at those involved in eye health and sight loss services: Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authority commissioners, Local Eye Health Networks and providers across health and social care.

SAFE aims to provide a sustainable, consistent and coordinated approach to delivering efficient eye health amid increasing demands on eye health services due to the ageing population, capacity issues within the hospital eye service, as well as pressures on general practice and social care.

Eye-health conditions covered in the framework are the main adult chronic (Glaucoma and Age-related Macular Degeneration) and high-volume conditions (Cataract), but can be applied to any eye condition.

For more information on the framework, click here.

GOS Payments – further delays announced by FODO

April 2108

NHS Digital has experienced technical issues with the Open Exeter IT system this month, which has unfortunately caused a delay in PCSE being able to process some GOS claims this month.

As a result, Contractors in the areas listed below will receive payment into their bank accounts on 17 April, two working days later than expected.

Derby County (5N6); Derby City; (5N7) Dudley (5PE); Central & Eastern Cheshire (5NP); Western Cheshire (5NN); and Warrington (5J2)

If you do operate in any of the above areas and have further problems, please don’t hesitate to let FODO know via, or call 020 7298 5151.

High level Education Strategic Review consultation responses show support for new education approach

April 2018

The GOC has recently published some high level findings from its Education Strategic Review concepts and principles consultation.

The high level summary publication shows 97 per cent of respondents agreed with the development of new education standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians. 82 per cent agreed with embedding clinical experience progressively from the start of education programmes.

Stakeholders also showed support for the GOC further informing its education requirements with its Standards for Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, with 84 per cent in favour of embedding professionalism into education and training programmes.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Vicky McDermott said: “We are delighted to have received many supportive responses to the consultation that will enable us to work at pace to develop our detailed proposals to equip future professionals with the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to practise safely and competently in a changing sector.

“We will make concerted progress in the coming months to transform these concepts into workable approaches for the future.”

The GOC’s Education Strategic Review concepts and principles consultation ran from December 2017 to March 2018, comprised 21 questions and sought feedback on 11 concepts and principles. A total of 36 responses were received to the consultation, 26 from organisations and 10 from individuals.

The GOC has also commissioned a full independent analysis of the consultation feedback and will publish this separately.

To read the high level findings summary please visit here:

The Fee freeze continues for a third year running

April 2018

D o H Freezes GOS Fees for a third year!

The Government has told the OFNC that it is freezing GOS fees for the third year running – despite strong evidence for an increase, and at a time when more generous settlements are being offered to NHS staff and contractors.

OFNC have been offered small increases (1%) on CET fees and grants for pre-registration optometrists.

The response has been one of deep frustration and anger by OFNC on behalf of the profession.

Trevor Warburton, OFNC chair, said that “This continued freeze on fees is completely unacceptable and a real blow. There is no way the profession could sign up to such a position on fees and this is not a `negotiated settlement’. This means that, once again, the Department has imposed a real-terms cut on this key public service.”

He added “The profession and GOS providers will be bitterly disappointed, especially when seen against more positive settlements being announced elsewhere and the powerful arguments made by OFNC in support of an increase, including the additional cost burdens on providers. The costs of operating community optical practices have increased every bit as much as for other primary care contractors.”

OFNC secretary Ann Blackmore added: “OFNC have stressed the urgent need for the Department and NHS England to find funding for IT connectivity in the coming year. The short-sighted rejection of previous bids and lack of risk assessment means that patients’ eyesight is at risk from the withdrawal of fax machines for urgent referrals. NHS Mail will be a temporary fix but the NHS drive to be paperless means the problem will return in spades unless there is investment in the optical sector.”

The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) is the community eye health equivalent of the BMA’s and BDA’s General Practice Committees and community pharmacist’s pharmaceutical services negotiating committee (PSNC). It is the recognised negotiating body for fees for the professions. Its members include the ABDO, the AOP, the BMA, and FODO.

The current membership of OFNC is Trevor Warburton (Optometrist, AOP – Chair OFNC), Henrietta Alderman (AOP CEO), Richard Edwards (Optometrist, FODO), Claire Slade (Optometrist, FODO), Gordon Ilett (AOP), Ian White (Optometrist AOP), Simon Longstaff (OMP BMA), Kim Fowler (BMA), Professor Nagasumbramanian (OMP BMA), Sir Anthony Garrett (CEO ABDO), David Hewlett (CEO FODO). Secretary: Ann Blackmore (FODO).

The OFNC is always grateful to receive comments, advice and perspectives from Optical Confederation members and can be contacted via

Papers relating to the 2017-18 fees negotiations round are available here

College of Optometrists appoints new Lead Assessor for the Scheme for Registration

April 2018

Sophie HarperThe College of Optometrists has appointed hospital optometrist, Sophie Harper FCOptom DipTP(IP), as Lead Assessor for the Scheme for Registration, following the retirement of current College Lead Assessor, Ruth Brough, who served in the role for over 12 years.

Sophie has been a Scheme for Registration supervisor and College examiner for many years and is an experienced assessor in the North West. As Lead Assessor, she will oversee the delivery and quality assurance of the work-based assessment element of the Scheme for Registration.

She will work with the College’s Deputy Lead Assessor and senior assessors to provide guidance, advice and training to support the UK-wide team of College assessors. She will also help develop our assessment processes and respond to any future changes to the way in which optometrists are trained.

Speaking about the appointment, Jackie Martin, Director of Education at the College said: “We are so pleased that Sophie will be joining our team. This is a key role in enabling the College to deliver the Scheme for Registration and helping us to shape the future of assessment for trainee optometrists. As well as being an experienced hospital optometrist, Sophie has been a supervisor and she will continue as a College assessor. Her involvement and vital insight in the running of the Scheme for Registration will help us to ensure that we continue to deliver the high standard of assessment the Scheme is renowned for. I also want to recognise the invaluable role that Ruth Brough has played in developing and introducing the Scheme for Registration, and in all of her endeavours for the College and we wish her all the best for her retirement.

Speaking about her new role, Sophie said: "I really look forward to taking on the role of Lead Assessor in the Scheme for Registration and becoming part of the excellent and hard-working education team at the College. The Scheme for Registration has developed significantly since its inception over 10 years ago. Now I will ensure I offer robust leadership for assessment, by working with a national team of assessors and meeting the new challenges within the changing face of optometry.”

Sophie will start her role at the College in July 2018.

2018 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Student Travel Fellowship Recipients Announced

April 2018

The American Academy of Optometry is pleased to congratulate the recipients of the 2018 Student Travel Fellowship Awards.

The travel fellowships will allow six students to present their research at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2018 annual meeting. The 2018 recipients and their respective schools follow.

Supported by Johnson and Johnson, The Vision Care Institute, LLC:

• Jessica Jasien, University of Alabama Birmingham, School of Optometry

• Daisy Shu, BOptom(Hons)/BSci, University of New South Wales, School of Optometry and Vision Science

• Laura Pardon, OD, MS, FAAO, University of Houston, College of Optometry

• Katie Bales, University of Alabama Birmingham, School of Optometry

• Hannah Burfield, University of Houston, College of Optometry

Supported by the American Academy of Optometry:

• Billie Beckwith-Cohen, DVM, MBA, FAAO, University of California Berkeley, School of Optometry

The American Academy of Optometry administers travel fellowships in order to encourage optometry students, optometric residents, and students in eye and vision related graduate programs to attend key national meetings and exchange scientific ideas on research.

Fellowships are awarded primarily for accomplishment and potential in optometric research and education and are evaluated by the American Academy of Optometry’s Research Committee.

Applications for student travel fellowships for the Academy’s annual meeting, Academy 2018 San Antonio, will be available in July 2018.

Trading Standards have challenged the way we display and sell frames.

April 2018

Spectacle sales from display, are they "display only" or are the ones tried on going to be the ones bought?

Trading Standards have challenged whether patients buying spectacle frames are generally aware that the display frames they try on are the frames that they are actually purchasing and which will be glazed for them. This briefing prepared by OC provides practical advice on steps that practices can take to manage the risk of any inadvertent breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

In the cases of clothing and non-prescription sunglasses, it is immediately obvious to the consumer that the garment or sunglasses they try on is what they will purchase. Although the same principle applies to prescription spectacle frames – indeed more so as the frames have to be measured and fitted before glazing – Trading Standards have queried whether patients in general know that the frame they try on from display will be the actual frame that they will purchase once glazed. Whilst this may seem obvious to those of us working in the sector, customers may not always be aware of it.

Trading Standards have raised concerns that sales of display frames in these circumstances may breach the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (‘the Regulations’). Legal advice obtained by the Optical Confederation confirms that if a practice doesn’t explain the position to consumers, there is a genuine risk that a customer complaint about this to a local Trading Standards Officer could result in a criminal prosecution and conviction for breach of the Regulations. This would, in turn, be reportable to the GOC and the NHS. We have therefore provided this guidance to help your practice meet the requirements of the Regulations.

OC advice

We recommend that all practices which sell frames from display should review the information they currently provide to customers. The following practical steps will reduce the risk of breaching the Regulations, and we recommend that as a minimum, practices should take steps (a), (b), and (c) below if they do not already do so:

a. Display a sufficiently prominent notice(s) to the effect that ‘Frames on display may be those sold’.
b. Where a frame is being sold from display, check that customers are fully happy and explain that these will be the frames which will be sent away to have lenses fitted in line with the measurements taken.
c. If you see any defects or issues with display frames being purchased, point these out to the customer and note that you have done so and any action agreed. d. If practical, provide an information slip or wording on the customer order form that the frames the customer has tried on are the ones they are purchasing.

These steps will enable you to show the customer has been given sufficient information to be fully aware of the circumstances of the sale. They also provide an opportunity to explain to customers that they are receiving a bespoke item which is tailored to their requirements.

You can download the whole advice here

Universal Credit – Updated OC guidance, March 2018

April 2018

Last week, the Optical Confederation updated its guidance on Universal Credit.

Led by FODO, this update replaces guidance originally issued in February 2016 and sets out what you should do when a patient claims an NHS sight-test and / or voucher on the grounds that they are in receipt on Universal Credit.

Full roll-out of Universal Credit is not expected to be completed until March 2022. In the meantime, we will of course be keeping an attentive eye on any developments affecting the sector and will keep you updated.

To access the guidance, click here.


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