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

Optometry/Dispensing

For Ophthalmology Section Page Click Here.


GOC consults on fitness to practise acceptance criteria.
American Academy of Optometry Announces The Research Academy to encourage research funding in Optometry and Vision Science.
GOC launches Education Strategic Review concepts and principles consultation.
College of Optometrists’ funded research identifies weaknesses in optometric data.
Optical Confederation condemns PCSE over continued failure.
GOC Statement on adjustable focus spectacles.
American Academy of Optometry Launches New Website.
On the record: team under pressure – AOP launches new legal film.
PSA releases report ahead of the review of professional regulations.
Making accurate claims in Scotland – new Optical Confederation guidance published.
College of Optometrists updates Guidance for professional practice.
NHS England announces new National Medical Director.
Outstanding CET claims to be processed by end of November says FODO.
News from The General Optical Council meeting (15 November 2017).
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 consults on fitness to practise acceptance criteria.

December 2017

The General Optical Council (GOC) has launched a consultation on introducing formal fitness to practise acceptance criteria.

The draft criteria would define the circumstances where the GOC will accept a complaint as an allegation of a registrant’s impaired fitness to practise. Those that do not meet the criteria would be closed without referral to GOC Case Examiners.

Lisa Davis, GOC Director of Fitness to Practise, explained: “These acceptance criteria would give us a transparent process for closing non-fitness to practise complaints quickly. This might include minor clinical or consumer concerns which could not call into question a practitioner’s fitness to practise.

“A formal process for closing complaints that do not raise concerns regarding a registrant’s fitness to practise, will allow us to improve transparency and consistency, and therefore the effectiveness of our processes.”

The GOC is encouraging its stakeholders to reply to the consultation before the deadline of 9 March 2018. The consultation is available here

American Academy of Optometry Announces The Research Academy to encourage research funding in Optometry and Vision Science.

December 2017

The American Academy of Optometry is proud to announce a new program, The Research Academy, to be held in Columbus, Ohio, July 17-19, 2018. The goal of The Research Academy is to help optometry faculty attendees develop ideas that will result in extramural funding for both basic and patient-oriented research in optometry and vision science.

The program will facilitate collaboration among attendees, and their ideas and research approaches will be critically evaluated by experienced researchers with a history of extramural funding and by National Eye Institute staff. The program will include a mock National Institutes of Health-style study section so that attendees can experience how submitted grants are reviewed. Components of a viable research idea, an overview of the National Eye Institute, and federal changes to the regulations that govern biomedical research will be emphasized.

The ideal attendee will either be engaged in current, formal research training or has a research-related degree and/or equivalent experience. On-site costs of the program will be sponsored by the Academy, and attendees and/or their academic institutions will be responsible for transportation expenses.

The Research Academy information and application can be found at https://www.aaopt.org/home/the-research-academy. The application window will be open from December 18, 2017 to January 16, 2018. Early applications are encouraged, as admission will be on a rolling basis.

GOC launches Education Strategic Review concepts and principles consultation.

December 2017

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today published a consultation on the concepts and principles that could underpin optical education and training in the future, as part of its Education Strategic Review.

The consultation considers a series of ways of helping to ensure future optometrists and dispensing opticians are supported to be safe, confident and competent new practitioners in an optical sector where patient need, service delivery and business models are changing fast.

The 11 concepts and principles explored in the consultation aim to:

• free universities and colleges up to develop innovative, responsive and agile education programmes that can respond to a dynamic UK optical sector and continue to protect the public,

• put patient safety at the heart of education and training through early, varied and regular clinical exposure for students,

• recognise the important place optical services have as part of a wider health system by promoting multi-professional learning,

• enable new relationships between education providers, employers and professional associations that can effectively prepare students for autonomous or team based practice in a range of settings,

• develop a more proportionate approach to the regulation of education providers through a risk-based outcomes-led approach to approving and quality assuring education providers.

The GOC is now seeking views from a wide range of stakeholders including education and training institutions, optical professionals and students, patient representatives and professional bodies.

This consultation follows the GOC’s initial Call for Evidence which demonstrated a broad consensus that now is the right time to be reviewing education requirements for optometrists and dispensing opticians.

Chief Executive and Registrar, Vicky McDermott said: “The concepts and principles we are considering in this consultation have been informed by what we are hearing from stakeholders about what the future holds for the professions we regulate. "

“We know patient need is changing; that new and different services are being delivered in the community and that there is potential for this to increase; and that technology is influencing what our registrants are doing now and will do in the future. Against this backdrop, our education requirements must be flexible enough to support future practitioners in providing high quality eye care safely and confidently. "

“This is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in eye care to let us know their thoughts and we encourage all stakeholders to take part in this consultation and help shape optical education that is fit for the future.”

The consultation is now open and will run until Friday 16 March. To find out more about the consultation and to respond please click here

College of Optometrists’ funded research identifies weaknesses in optometric data.

December 2017

The College of Optometrists has said that the lack of public health data on the prevalence of eye conditions is impacting on policymakers and commissioners’ ability to adequately plan and meet eye health needs.

The College has published the findings of its commissioned Ophthalmic Public Health Research Project, which identified that, despite an increasing amount of clinical data being held electronically in optometric practice systems, and a growing prevalence of eye conditions that require greater management, the data is not organised in a way that it can be used for research and service planning purposes.

The project was undertaken by College funded Ophthalmic Public Health Research Fellows to collate existing research and identify opportunities for optometry to provide public health data for use in engaging government and policymakers, and to improve understanding of ophthalmic public health by optometrists. As a result, the researchers have recommended a minimum dataset containing standard clinical information that could be used to facilitate analysis of the evidence for public health purposes and identify trends and areas of need in optometric practice.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research at the College, said: “A significant number of older people have undetected visual impairment, this is worse in deprived areas, and this impairment is associated with reduced quality of life. Our aim with this project was to address this need by pulling together existing evidence, and to explore the use of existing data for what it could tell us about the nation’s eye health. The project has provided an important benchmark about what information is currently available, and allows for more extensive projects, such as the National Eye Health Survey, to provide the additional data needed to understand the nation’s eye health needs.”

Darren Shickle, Professor of Public Health at the University of Leeds and principal investigator of the research, said: “This research focused on currently available data and future data needs, to understand upcoming challenges surrounding eye health. Using the existing data, we have been able to identify inequalities in the uptake of sight tests. Sight tests involve more than identifying whether people need spectacles, and are the main way that preventable sight loss is first detected. However, there is further information needed to understand the primary eye care needs of the population, and our work with the College has also concentrated on developing a minimum data set that, if implemented, could help inform health and social care commissioners, allowing them to better understand the eye health needs of their populations.”

Key report findings are:
• The available literature on the epidemiology of eye conditions does not provide sufficient evidence to inform recommendations on the frequency at which sight tests should be performed.
• There is an increasing amount of clinical data held electronically in various optometric practice systems that would be of interest to researchers and public health professionals.
• Current systems are not organised in a way that allows for interrogation of the data for research purposes.
• The format(s) of the data held is such that data may not be easily analysed even if it is possible to extract the data from a system, as much of the data available is in free text rather than organised menus.
• The researchers described a minimum data set that could be used for public health research if it could be extracted from optometric practice systems in a way that may be readily analysed.
• The research group indicated how metrics may be coded to provide useful outputs for research and highlighted areas where it may be difficult to code.

The full report can be downloaded on the College of Optometrists’ website here.

Optical Confederation condemns PCSE over continued failure.

December 2017

In response to news that, despite promises they made only last month at the NOC, yet again PCSE is failing to deliver and will process barely 50% of CET grant claims by the end of December, Zoe Smith, co-Chair of the Optical Confederation IT Committee said:

“We have had two years of broken promises, botched systems and missed deadlines from PCSE all of which have had a huge impact on our members. The latest news that CET payments may not now be processed until the New Year is yet another blow and the Optical Confederation is urgently seeking assurances that this unacceptable situation is resolved with utmost haste.”

PCSE now say that all payments will be made by the end of January and the OC will be monitoring this deadline closely.

GOC Statement on adjustable focus spectacles.

December 2017

In May, the GOC published a statement on one brand of adjustable focus spectacles.

We have since then been contacted about other similar products, and we are issuing this statement to clarify that we will take the same approach to all such products.

The Opticians Act does not explicitly authorise the unsupervised supply of adjustable focus spectacles within any adjustment range. However, although there are features that do not fall within the terms of the Act’s exemption for ‘ready readers’ we do not, on the basis of the information currently available, consider that there is sufficient evidence of risk of harm to the public, or a wider public interest, in prosecuting unsupervised sellers of adjustable focus spectacles within the adjustment range 0 to +4 dioptres.

We are therefore treating such products as benefitting from the ready reader exemption in the Opticians Act.

However we reserve the right to prosecute unsupervised sellers of any products within this range in the future if evidence of risk of harm or public interest emerges, in line with our Protocol for the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences.

We note that some stakeholders have called for legislative change to permit the unsupervised sale of all adjustable focus spectacles. Such a change in the law would be a matter for the Government not the GOC.

Our view is that, before considering a change to the law, the Government should consult openly and carry out a regulatory impact assessment in order to identify the full range of likely impacts and avoid unintended consequences.

Definition.

'Ready readers’ are those spectacles which have two single vision lenses of the same positive spherical power not exceeding four dioptres. By way of clarification, the GOC considers that adjustable focus spectacles do not contain lenses “of the same positive spherical power”, even if they are adjusted to the same focus at the time of sale, as the point of adjustable focus lenses is that their focus can be subsequently adjusted by the user.

American Academy of Optometry Launches New Website.

December 2017

The American Academy of Optometry announces the launch of a newly designed website for both the Academy and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. The new website has been designed to offer the ultimate user-friendly experience with improved navigation and functionality, while allowing visitors to access key information more easily.

“We are excited to announce the upgrade and improvement to our website. We hope this change will ensure we’re both meeting the needs of our members and more effectively engaging new prospects,” said Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, FAAO, Academy President.

Created with the user experience in mind, the site includes many new features to help users to quickly and easily navigate the site and find what they need. New features include:

• Updated and more modern look and design.
• An enhanced Fellow and Diplomate Directory that allows the user to easily identify Diplomates who appear in the search results.
• Optimized and enhanced responsive design lending to better viewability on mobile devices and a variety of browser types.
• Thorough search feature that encompasses website pages, past meeting abstracts and outlines, and directory information.

The new website is the result of the work of the Academy’s Website Task Force and Academy staff during the past year and a half. Website Task Force members include Drs. Pete Kollbaum (Chair), Lisa Badowski, Raman Bhakhri, Eddie Chu, Patricia Fulmer, Marta Fabrykowski, Bonnie-Kim Hang, Brian Kawasaki, Joe Maino, and Jason Marsack.

About the American Academy of Optometry

The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) enhances excellence in optometric practice by fostering research and disseminating knowledge in vision science through its journal, Optometry and Vision Science, and the continuing education presented at its annual meeting. Fellows of the Academy are committed to the premise that learning is a lifelong obligation of a professional, as is the commitment to expand the profession’s knowledge base through ongoing fellowship and exchange.

The next annual meeting of the Academy will be November 7-10, 2018 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

On the record: team under pressure – AOP launches new legal film.

December 2017

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has launched a new legal drama and discussion, On the record: team under pressure, which better equips members working in busy, time-pressured optical practices.

Building on the success of the AOP’s first legal film drama in 2016, On the record: team under pressure, looks at optical work-based issues including the importance of adhering to the General Optical Council’s (GOC) Standards of Practice, managing stress and dealing with heavy workloads.

From the film, optometrists and dispensing opticians will better understand how to comply with the requirements of GOC registration and how to more easily meet legal obligations when undertaking functions such as sight testing and the supply of optical devices. The drama is followed by a discussion between the AOP’s Legal and Regulatory Services Director, Gerda Goldinger and, Assistant Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, Fiona Mitchell.

The film narrative is based on the common queries faced by the AOP legal team. Commenting on the film, Gerda Goldinger said: “Last year around one in four members phoned to seek advice from the AOP's in-house legal and regulatory team – the concerns raised in this film are just some examples of the types of matters we manage daily. Almost all members will face one of these issues at some point in their career, which is why having advice that is readily available and easy to access is invaluable to our members.”

The film has been part-funded through a generous donation from the Central Optical Fund. Ruth Cuthbert, immediate past Chairman of the Central Optical Fund said: “The Central Optical Fund is delighted to support the AOP in the making of this second film on legal issues faced in the profession.

The film provides essential advice on a range of areas and the practical steps practitioners should take to provide the best standards of care and how to avoid legal issues. This film, and the 2016 film On the record: a complaint has been made, are great examples of the types of projects the Central Optical Fund would like to get involved with and finance.”

The film can be viewed online by AOP members and OT subscribers from 4 to 27 December 2017 and then from 2 January to 29 June 2018. One non-interactive CET point is available.

There is also an opportunity for optometrists and dispensing opticians to gain one interactive CET point by attending sessions at the Eyecare Conference, 21 January 2018, or at 100% Optical, 27 January 2018. At these events, On the record: team under pressure will be shown, followed by a live question and answer session with the AOP legal team.

The full-length film can be viewed here or accessed via a link from the Central Optical Fund website www.centralfund.org.uk

PSA releases report ahead of the review of professional regulations.

November 2017

PSA LogoFollowing the publication of the Government’s consultation on Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has released a report, entitled ‘Right-touch reform’, in an effort to inform and guide respondents to the Government consultation on reviewing professional regulations.

 

The report covers four key themes: the role of regulators in prevention of harm; the future of fitness to practise; professional regulators’ role in education and training; and modernising registers.

FODO contributed to preliminary consultations with the Department of Health last year, and are currently preparing a consultation response on behalf of the Optical Confederation.

PSA Report here

Making accurate claims in Scotland – new Optical Confederation guidance published.

November 2017

OC Report

This week, the updated Optical Confederation guidance on making accurate claims in Scotland was released.

This guidance is directed to optometrists, dispensing opticians, ophthalmic medical practitioners (OMPs), optical practices and businesses in Scotland. Separate guidance is applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This guidance is based on the most recent NHS General Ophthalmic Services, and Optical Charges and Payments, regulations applicable to Scotland.

 

You can find the report here.

College of Optometrists updates Guidance for professional practice.

November 2017

The College of Optometrists has reviewed and updated its Guidance for professional practice. This scheduled three-year renewal will bring the guidance in line with the General Optical Council (GOC) Standards, NICE and SIGN Guidelines.

Changes include:

• An updated section to address ‘social media and online behaviour’ in line with its increasing presence in day-to-day life

• An expanded complaints section to help members deal with complaints more effectively

• A new chapter on ‘examining patients with a disability’

• An update on prescribing tinted lenses

• An updated emergency referrals list. Minor updates in the ‘routine eye examination’, ‘record keeping’ and ‘contact lens’ sections.

The College of Optometrists’ Director of Policy and Strategy, Jo Mullin, said: “Together with the other optical bodies, the College has reviewed its guidance to ensure that it is up-to-date, conforms to new regulations and guidelines and is in line with current thinking. The Guidance is there to help optometrists apply the GOC standards in their daily practice.”

All optometrists can access the guidance here. Alternatively, the guidance is available through the Guidance of professional practice app, which members can download on all Apple and Android devices.

In early 2018, College members will be a sent an exclusive bound version of the guidance, produced in a handy size and format, with a comprehensive index – great for the consulting room or when on the move.

The College has developed a member briefing which explains the changes in full. You can access this on the College website:.

NHS England announces new National Medical Director.

November 2017

Prof. Powis

NHS England announced the appointment of Professor Stephen Powis as its new National Medical Director this week.

He will succeed Sir Bruce Keogh in the New Year.

Professor Powis is currently a hospital consultant, a professor of renal medicine, and a senior clinical officer at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

FODO Chief Executive David Hewlett, said: “We congratulate Professor Steve Powis on his appointment as new medical director NHS England. We hope, given his background, that Prof Powis will ensure that NHS England focuses on prevention and chronic conditions, as the Five Year Forward View promised but on which it has yet to deliver."

" We would also hope he will engage with the optical sector through the Clinical Council to achieve change and prevent people losing their sight through poor commissioning and capacity management across primary and secondary care.”

Outstanding CET claims to be processed by end of November says FODO.

November 2017

FODO reported to its members that yet again there have been backlogs and delays in the processing of CET claims submitted to Primary Care Support England (PCSE).

However, they understand that the PCSE has now committed to getting all CET claims processed by the end of the month.

Which means practices should receive payment for outstanding claims with their December GOS payment. Any practices that have submitted claims by 31 October need not take any further action.

LOCSU has therefore agreed not to escalate any more CET claims until this catch-up exercise has been completed.

News from The General Optical Council meeting (15 November 2017).

November 2017

Education strategic review

Council agreed to proceed with a consultation on the concepts and principles that should underpin a system of optical education and training fit for the future in the next phase of the Education Strategic Review.

This consultation follows our Call for Evidence and extensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders from across the UK.

Some of the concepts and principles we will be exploring through the consultation include embedding professional standards in students’ education and training, enhancing students’ clinical experience and instilling a more multi-disciplinary ethos into education programmes.

Chief Executive and Registrar, Vicky McDermott said: “The concepts we are exploring in this consultation build strongly on our Call for Evidence and the extensive stakeholder engagement we have carried out. We want to hear the views of all our stakeholders so that we can then develop detailed proposals for a new system of education and training that equips students for future roles.”

The GOC plans to publish the consultation document at the start of December.

FTP consensual panel disposal

The GOC today approved the use of consensual panel disposal in appropriate cases to speed up the FTP process while ensuring continued public protection. This follows a six week period of consultation.

Interim Director of FTP, Safia Iman said: “The consensual panel disposal policy is part of the complaints strategy which is essential to delivering one of the three strategic objectives in our Strategic Plan: organisational transformation. We were delighted with the thoughtful submissions received from a range of stakeholders including professional bodies and registrants.
Responses to the consultation emphasised the importance of transparency in maintaining public confidence in the regulation of the optical professions. We are committed to ensuring that our FTP process is clear for members of the public and that those who refer concerns to us have their views properly considered.”

The GOC will publish a consultation summary and produce guidance which will be communicated to staff and FTP Committee members with accompanying training in January/February 2018.

The GOC plans to implement the policy from February 2018.

FTP Acceptance Criteria guidance

Council approved a public consultation on Acceptance Criteria guidance for complaints. This criteria will define the circumstances where the GOC will accept a complaint as an allegation of a registrant’s impaired fitness to practice or fitness to train.

The new criteria will assist in the early closure of complaints that do not amount to FTP allegations, therefore improving costs, efficiency, procedural transparency, fairness and timeliness of FTP investigations.

The GOC will publish the Acceptance Criteria guidance policy for consultation in the coming weeks.

Vision and safe driving: research outcomes

Council considered the outcomes of the GOC’s research into vision and safe driving and approved planned actions in response to the research.

The GOC commissioned an independent research agency to undertake the research with registrants and members of the public in July and August.

The full report is available on their website here.

Council approved the following actions:

To develop and consult on guidance on reporting concerns to the DVLA/DVA, as well as to promote and signpost registrants to the DVLA’s guidance and helpline via the GOC’s communication channels.

The Standards committee will review the draft guidance and consultation document at their meeting in January 2018. The GOC will publish the consultation shortly after and present the final guidance to Council to consider and approve in July 2018.

Continuing Evaluation and Training (CET): project update

Council welcomed an update on the CET project and delegated authority to the Chief Executive and Registrar and Chair to approve a public statement summarising the project plan.

This project will evaluate the success of the GOC’s CET scheme against its original objectives and will implement both short and long-term changes to ensure that registrants remain safe to practice and to encourage continuing professional development.

The project is closely aligned with the Education Strategic Review to ensure that both the current and future workforce are equipped for future roles.

The summary CET project plan will be published on the GOC website shortly.

Other news

The GOC’s 2016/17 annual report has been laid before Parliament on Tues 14 November 2017 and has been published on their website here.

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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