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Opchat Magazine Professional Matters PagesProfessional Matters News, October to December 2017


For Ophthalmology Section Page Click Here.

GOC announces new appointments to its statutory advisory committees.
FODO welcome updated NICE glaucoma guideline supporting greater role for optometrists.
College responds to dissapointed reactions from members on co-branding.
AOP patient resources get the seal of approval from Optix Software.
Are you ready for the GDPR new format for data protection on 25th May 2018?
College of Optometrists launches new learning area for members.
The College of Optometrists’ patient materials to be distributed through all Specsavers stores

GOC announces new appointments to its statutory advisory committees.

November 2017

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today appointed ten new lay members to four of its statutory advisory committees.

The committee members will provide expert advice on key areas of the GOC’s work, ensuring that it continues to take account of issues that affect registrants and the public and puts patient safety at the heart of its decisions.

Speaking about the appointments GOC Chair, Gareth Hadley, said “Our committees play a vital role, not only in advising Council on matters that affect both registrants and the public, but in key projects such as our Education Strategic Review.”

“I extend a warm welcome to all new committee members and look forward to drawing on their diverse experience and expertise to ensure that Council’s decisions continue to be informed by well-reasoned and informed advice.”

Registration Committee

The GOC has appointed Alison Sansome, David Watkins and Lynn Emslie to its Registration Committee.

Alison Sansome is a non-executive board member for the Office of the Public Guardian and a School Governor. She was previously a Senior Civil Servant, Senior Programme Director for Hewlett Packard and then an Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

David Watkins previously taught music in London and the Home Counties before working in education, social care and local government. In recent years has been involved in finance and governance, information technology and the design, development and commissioning of new schools with a focus on special educational needs.

Lynn Emslie’s career has spanned healthcare service delivery, commissioning and strategic development; including mental health, health in criminal justice and local authority social services. She originally qualified as a diagnostic radiographer and then a social worker, before becoming a senior manager leading NHS commissioning and quality monitoring within NHS England.

Education Committee

The GOC has appointed Alan Kershaw and Kath Start to its Education Committee.

Alan Kershaw worked for the General Medical Council for 17 years, latterly as Director of Education and Standards. He spent seven years as Chief Executive of the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners. He has held non-executive positions with the General Osteopathic Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Kath Start has held executive, advisory and non-executive appointments with NHS and Foundation Trust boards, universities, colleges and boards of private healthcare companies in the UK and overseas. Her current projects include acting as an advisor to a government in South East Asia, designing new ways of managing emergency ambulance services and an education framework to underpin new roles for emergency care clinicians.

Investigation Committee

The GOC has appointed Heather Keating and Juliet Oliver to its Investigation Committee.

Heather Keating served as a senior police officer in a wide variety of roles for 30 years, including District Commander in Hastings and Rother, Neighbourhood Policing Superintendent in East Sussex. She has extensive experience of leading diverse teams in the public sector and established the first Pregnancy, Maternity and Paternity Equality working group in Sussex Police.

Juliet Oliver is a solicitor specialising in public and regulatory law - and the General Counsel at the Solicitors Regulation Authority. She was previously a partner at Fieldfisher, acting for a range of regulatory bodies. At the General Medical Council she advised on high profile disciplinary cases including the Shipman and Mid-Staffordshire public inquiries. Juliet is a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee.

Standards Committee

The GOC has appointed Deborah Bowman, Emma Connelly and Linda Millington to its Standards Committee.

Deborah Bowman is a Professor with over 25 years’ experience in bioethics, clinical ethics and medical law. She is former Editor-in-Chief of the BMJ title Medical Humanities and Board Member and Section Editor for the Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation. Deborah is currently chairing the General Medical Council Task and Finish Group reviewing guidance for doctors on consent.

Emma Connelly is a clinical specialist physiotherapist with over 20 years’ experience of working in the NHS. She has post-graduate qualifications in injection therapy and independent prescribing as well as an MSc in advanced physiotherapy.

Until April 2016 Linda Millington was Head of Assessment Services for the Restorative Justice Council (RJC) where she was responsible for the management of the RJC’s Practitioner Register, Practitioner Accreditation Scheme and Restorative Service Quality Mark. Her previous roles have included audit work for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Appointees to the Investigation, Education and Registration Committees took up office on 1 October 2017, apart from Heather Keating, who will take up her post on 1 January 2018. All appointees to the Standards Committee will take up office on 1 November 2017.

FODO welcome updated NICE glaucoma guideline supporting greater role for optometrists.

November 2017

Updated guidance published today by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), ‘Glaucoma diagnosis and management’, clarifies the role optometrists can play in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma patients.  The updated guidance NG81 can be read and downloaded here.

Welcoming the new guidance, FODO Chief Executive, David Hewlett, said: “This updated guideline is extremely helpful. The updated Intraocular Pressure (IOP) recommendation brings England and Wales more into line with Scotland and the pathway diagrams are extremely clear. Most importantly, the guideline should enable the NHS to plan services across primary and secondary care to make better use of all available capacity.”

FODO Clinical Adviser, Professor Steve Taylor, added: “Optometrists will welcome this new guidance, which makes clear their clinical role in the diagnosis and management pathway for Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma (COAG) and Ocular Hypertension (OHT). It allows for the greater use of their core competences in managing patients outside hospital, and sets a more rational IOP referral threshold. I hope the guidance will now lead to universal implementation of NHS funded glaucoma referral and care services.”  

This is an update of the 2009 guideline on Glaucoma – ‘Glaucoma: diagnosis and management COAG and OHT’.  It sets a new, higher IOP threshold for referral - bringing England more into line with Scotland - and establishes a blueprint for universal referral refinement services based on community optical practices. It also includes new information on: guideline committee and scope; methodology; case finding, diagnosis and monitoring; service models; prognostic risk tools; and the treatment of OHT.

College responds to dissapointed reactions from members on co-branding.

October 2017

In response to reactions received from some College members when the College announced their new co-branding service with Specsavers. The College has now informed members that they can now request patient leaflets and tear-off pads with their logos printed on the cover.

More information and printing costs are now on the college website. Non-branded leaflets are, of course, still available, completely free of charge.

A number of members had contacted us and obviously the College, following the recently reported news published here on Opchat News on co-branding.

A spokesman said, "Announcing the new co-branding service at the same time as naming a single multiple group, has given the impression of bias, which was not our intention. The College has always been, and will always be an impartial and authoritative voice for the profession, and strives to support all of our members. This was a genuine error and we apologise to any members who we have offended. "

What Opchat News reported 2 weeks ago

AOP patient resources get the seal of approval from Optix Software.

October 2017

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is working with Optix Software to promote its patient resources – making the accredited eye health information more widely available.

The AOP’s extensive range of patient resources, including a suite of 17 patient leaflets and a series of 60 second advice videos, will be available in the next release of Optix software.

Dr Peter Hampson, Clinical Director at the AOP said: “The AOP is committed to increasing public awareness around eye health, which is why our patient resources are freely available to all, regardless of membership. The resources have proved extremely popular with members and the public alike, with over 1600 downloads from our website some months. We’re delighted to be working with Optix Software to increase awareness and use of the leaflets, and the understanding of good eye health more broadly.”

Trevor Rowley, Managing Director at Optix Software said: “As one of the leading providers of business management software, with 30% of independent practices running our system, we’re thrilled to be further supporting our independent practice-owning customers, and the AOP in their drive to make sure patients have full access to this high-quality and invaluable resource.”

The AOP’s patient resources, which include information about common eye conditions, advice for managing symptoms and tips for eye care, are produced by an expert clinical team. All the AOP’s patient leaflets are approved by the Plain English Campaign and have been endorsed by the UK's biggest health website, NHS Choices, who direct readers to them.

This latest initiative is designed to support the AOP’s ongoing work to educate the public on eye health – the resources are already freely available on the AOP website and designed so they can be easily printed as one or two sides of A4.

Are you ready for the GDPR new format for data protection on 25th May 2018?

October 2017

GDPRNow is the time to start preparing for the new GDPR act that will supersede the current DPA legislation.

The act although European in birth will continue with its tougher rules on data protection post Brexit Transition as it is being brought into force under the new British Data Protection Bill.

After May 25th, 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation will come into force and it is no longer a matter of paying for your ICO registration and using your existing policy on data exchange, assuming you have one.

The GDPR places the responsibilities fairly and squarely with individual practices. Failure to be able to show you have adequate processes in place and have a full implementation policy with continuing adjustment and refreshment known to all staff working with data will risk a very expensive and punitive fine of 4% of turnover up to 20 million euros.

The IOD released today worrying figures of its own members that show that despite having almost 2 years to prepare for these changes 30% of its members did not know about it and 40% did not know if it affected them. Colleagues it affects everyone of us in our healthcare practices, domiciliary and regional or head offices.

PHN has spent time investigating how it affects optometric and dispensing practice, attending ICO meetings and has now written a business briefing document that can be used by all its readers and will be retained on our business briefing page.

Click here for Briefing Page

College of Optometrists launches new learning area for members.

October 2017

The College of Optometrists has launched a new dedicated learning area which will provide more learning materials than ever before for members.

The learning area, which can be accessed via the College’s website, will provide users with an easier user experience as well as additional learning resources. The new area will enable members to keep a track of their CET points and undergo supervisor training and clinical audit training. Members will also be able to access video lectures with multiple choice questions for CET points, materials and advice for effective learning, including templates for IP optometrists.

Barbara Mason, Head of CPD for the College said: “The College is increasing its focus on professional development and on supporting members so that they can maintain their skills, meet GOC requirements, progress in their careers, and provide the highest standards of patient care.

Our members told us that they wanted quick and easy access to high quality CET and CPD materials, and our aim with this new approach to online learning is to make learning as convenient, user-friendly and effective as possible. We will be developing our provision to cover all the key clinical and professional knowledge and skills optometrists need, and to support our members in practice and in their careers, and so invite them to let us know what they would like to see in the future”.

The College of Optometrists’ patient materials to be distributed through all Specsavers stores

October 2017

The College of Optometrists’ popular range of patient information materials are to be made available through all Specsavers’ UK stores.

College Leaflet
From this month, the extensive range of patient leaflets, eye drop instillation sheets and children’s activity packs and stickers developed by the College, will be co-branded for all Specsavers stores so that more people can benefit from information on common eye conditions and treatment.

Ian Humphreys CEO for the College of Optometrists, said: “Over 5 million College leaflets have already been distributed to patients by College members based in a wide range of practices right across the UK, so we’re delighted that this collaboration will enable even more patients to benefit from our growing range of information.

“This meets the College’s commitment to supply its members with resources to support them in practice and improve patient care, and to help patients understand a whole host of common eye conditions, and the importance of having a regular eye examination.”

Specsavers’ Director of Professional Services, Paul Carroll, added: “A key part of the optometrist’s role as the primary provider of eye care, is to educate and inform our patients as well as delivering regular eye tests and eye health services. At Specsavers we have a long history of producing information and guides for our customers in a variety of media. We strongly believe in the importance of providing clear, helpful and authoritative guidance which is why we are delighted to be able to make the range of information leaflets produced by the College of Optometrists, more readily available to all patients directly from all of our stores.”

The College’s patient information series is written and reviewed by sector experts and carries the Plain English Campaign’s Crystal Mark, demonstrating the clarity of the information provided.

Specsavers stores will also display a poster that encourages patients to ask to see a College member.

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