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Opchat Magazine LOC News pagesLOC News, July-September 2015

Gavin Williamson M.P., visits Kelcher Optometrists in Great Wyrley

Opticians offer health checks in pioneering pilot

NOC Building the evidence base

Optometrists in driving seat for primary care role


Local MP for South Staffordshire, Gavin Williamson, visits Kelcher Optometrists in Great Wyrley

August 2015

Gavin Williamson MPOptometrist and Practice Owner Michaela Kelcher explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:

"It was great to have the opportunity to show Gavin Williamson, our local MP, around our practice. We showed him what happens during an eye examination and made him aware of the local enhanced services that we offer to our patients.

“We are always trying to raise awareness of the need for regular eye examinations for all ages. In most cases, early detection and treatment of eye diseases can help reduce your risk of permanent vision loss."

Commenting on his visit, Mr Williamson said: “I had such an interesting time visiting Kelcher Optometrists. It was wonderful to visit a practice which has been providing such an important service in Great Wyrley. I was fascinated to discover than an eye test can pick up other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Good eyesight is something we only notice we have when it’s gone, which is why I am encouraging those that don’t already have regular eye tests to book in to visit their local opticians.”

The visit was arranged between Staffordshire Local Optical Committee and Gavin Williamson MP, with the support of the Optical Confederation’s Public Affairs Team,

Opticians offer health checks in pioneering pilot

August 2015

Optical practices are to provide free health and lifestyle check-ups in a ground-breaking new initiative launched this week.August 2015

Anti-smoking, weight management and alcohol screening are among the help offered to customers as part of innovative pilot devised by optical professionals and Public Health Dudley.

The Healthy Living Optician pilot in Dudley will be the first time in England that optical practices have delivered preventative health tips. It follows the success of the Health Living Pharmacist scheme.
Speaking after the launch, Katrina Venerus from the Local Optical Support Unit (LOCSU), said: “Optical practices and professionals are regularly overlooked as part of the wider NHS workforce. Yet 20 million annual sight tests present an unmissable chance to start healthy conversations.

“The NHS Five Year Forward View has an explicit call for a radical upgrade in prevention,” said Venerus, LOCSU’s Managing Director. “A sea change is required in healthcare delivery and opticians and optometrists can be a vital part of that.

“We have the clinical skills, the long-term customer relationships along with community locations and seven-day opening to make significant health interventions as high-street health hubs advising on lifestyles, helping change behaviour and signposting that the Five Year Forward View demands of a preventative approach.

“The Healthy Living Optician initiative is just the type of innovative new model of care that the NHS reforms are demanding. We will be looking closely at the results of the Dudley pilot to persuade other public health teams in England to roll out the Health Living Optician concept in their areas.”

“With 2.6 million GP appointments and 270,000 A&E visits attributed to eye-related problems every year, it makes good sense to free up unnecessary time spent in hospital and GP surgeries by using the skills, equipment and availability of opticians and optometrists.

“There are 1.6 million visits to community pharmacies each day and collaboration partnerships with other primary care professionals beyond the GP surgery can make resources go further and ultimately improve patient care and experience.

Nine optical practices are participating in scheme and optical staff have undertaken additional specialist training to become accredited Healthy Living Opticians. As part of the rigorous accreditation process, all participating practices will have a health information zone where health prevention messages and services are promoted.

The services are free to anyone living or working in the Dudley borough and the full list includes NHS Health Checks (such as blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose) smoking cessation, weight management and alcohol screening.

Ahead of the launch at R T Knight Opticians in Dudley Street on Friday 7 August, Mayor, Councillor Steve Waltho said: “I’m delighted to be launching this fantastic new service in the borough. All opticians provide a valuable service, but Healthy Living Opticians will provide a much broader range of support and expert advice, with each member of the team being proactive in supporting the health and wellbeing of their customers.”

NOC Building the evidence base

July 2015

Building the evidence base to convince Commissioners that community eye services are cost-effective and more convenient for patients will be an important part of this year’s NOC programme, LOCSU can reveal.

Announcing details of the 2015 NOC programme, Katrina Venerus, said: “Having access to national data on the outcomes of community services will be invaluable to LOCs when making their case to local Commissioners.”

Carrie MacEwan NOCBookings are now open for the 2015 flagship conference and keynote speakers include senior figures from the NHS, ophthalmology and public health. Dr Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning, is no stranger to the NOC and he will outline the policy context following the Calls to Action, the Five Year Forward View, the publication of the NHS business plan and political landscape following the General Election.

Professor Caroline MacEwen, President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Parul Desai, Consultant in Public Health and Ophthalmology at Moorfields, have confirmed their attendance.

LOCSU will be launching its new national Data Repository which is being developed to build a watertight case for the introduction of primary eye care services. Keynote speaker Parul Desai will be joining in the theme looking at the Portfolio of Outcome Indicators that have been developed by the VISION 2020 (UK) Ophthalmic Public Health Committee to monitor and review eye health and care services.

Dr P Desai NOC




Meanwhile, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists will be sharing details of the new National Ophthalmology Database Audit.

Announcing the keynote speakers and the emerging programme, LOCSU MD Katrina Venerus, said: “As in previous years, the NOC is again shaping up to become the must-attend conference of the optical calendar.

We are pleased to have secured these eye health leaders offering a first-hand strategic perspective to LOC representatives.

NOC 2015 will also include a new welcome session and a “buddy system” for new officers and first-time delegates. Following feedback from last year, delegates can also take advantage of free wi-fi across the venue during the event.

The NOC takes place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole from the 5-6 November 2015. One free delegate place for each LOC.

Optometrists in driving seat for primary care role

July 2015

Optometrists are in the driving seat for a major role in primary care, with the emergence of autonomous General Practitioner Federations across the country.

Rachel HelmDue to come into effect in April 2016, the new regime for GP commissioning presents the greatest opportunity for optometrists seen in decades, believes the Heidelberg Engineering Academy. By providing support services beyond clinical education such as marketing, financial and patient journey planning advice, the Academy offers the best means of integrating OCT into the practice.
Rachel Helm, Director of Hum UK, which supports the Heidelberg Engineering Academy as a business partner, is an expert at integrating services into the NHS and has extensive experience in providing primary care services across many specialties.

“Commissioning is moving to health outcomes and it is really going to pay dividends for providers to show that they can offer this service. There is a massive opportunity for optometrists to integrate clinical pathways, particularly for the provision of glaucoma and AMD care,” she said.

“GP Federations will be comprised of up to 60,000 patients, with smaller commissioning groups being formed too. GPs are looking to focus on preventative care and with provision being closer to home for patients. Optometrists are in the driving seat to do this but there is a route to take: it is essential to look at what is required locally. So much can be done with OCT and taking a multi-modality approach to accurate diagnosis and referrals, along with tackling chronic disease control.

“High quality management and infrastructure support is critical. GPs are currently being urged by the RCGP to ‘ensure the momentum and buy-in to the change process, identifying key stakeholders and to ensure that they are involved – to use the team as agents of change’ – it is an unrivalled opportunity for the profession.”

Capitalising on changing the NHS landscape, with a significant number of services coming out of the hospital setting, is a major opportunity for those who are well versed in OCT and multi-modality imaging. Routine and planned care, plus diagnostics, provided as primary care in collaboration with local hospitals, is the future for optometry believes Heidelberg Engineering, which has invested in its
Academy to support practitioners at every level of their journey.

“For effective engagement your staff need to understand the clinical model. It is important to have a stakeholder plan and to invite primary care into the practice, and form alliances with GPs. It is no wonder that so many hospitals are using the SPECTRALIS, due to its unique comparison tracking function,” added Rachel.



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