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Opchat Magazine LOC News pagesLOC News, October to December 2016

Ophthalmic Performers List gets Priority.
Senior commissioner appointed as new LOCSU chief operating officer.
Devon Local Optical Committee visits Westminster to lobby local MPs on issues facing community eye care across Devon.
Poster Competition deadline approaching for NOC meeting.
Optical practices should be high street health hubs.

Ophthalmic Performers List gets Priority.

November 2016

The backlog of Ophthalmic Performer List applications is eventually being given priority Primary Care Support England (PCSE).

In response to the news that the latest recovery plan that had been agreed with Capita early this month had not been fully implemented, optical sector leaders agreed with NHS England that LOCSU would provide intensive onsite support and expertise for the PCSE staff alongside a member of the NHS England Management Team to improve the operational management and oversight of the Performers List work.

Commenting on the support being provided by LOCSU, Katrina Venerus said: “It is an unacceptable situation that newly-qualified optometrists are being prevented from providing NHS sight tests because of administration delays. Through the work that has been undertaken with PCSE this week, the operational management has improved and we have managed to get a significant number of applications approved.”

She added: “All outstanding applications from optometrists who qualified in July at have now been identified and are being actively progressed as a priority and we will be starting to focus on optometrists who qualified in September at the start of next week. The College of Optometrists’ Education Team have very helpfully written to the September cohort to identify all those waiting for an Ophthalmic Performers List number and we will work from this data.”

Venerus said that performer listing is a very simple but overly bureaucratic process and explained that NHS England, with support from members of the National Optometric Advisor Association, have put in place a series of daily panels to get applications approved promptly once the administration steps have been completed.

She stated that it is vital that LOCSU continues this work with PCSE to ensure all outstanding applications are processed as quickly as possible and that the operational processes are reviewed and improved for future cohorts.

Venerus stressed it is important that contractors and performers understand that in parallel to the support being provided, sector leaders continue to hold NHS England and PCSE to account for service failures.

“The Chief Executives of ABDO, AOP and FODO have written formally to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and again to NHS England leaders, including CEO Simon Stevens, earlier this week to express the sector’s anger that the backlog has not been resolved by PCSE and to raise further the issue of compensation for members who have experienced significant business interruption and losses.”

Senior commissioner appointed as new LOCSU chief operating officer.

November 2016

Former Clinical Commissioning Group Director, Richard Whittington has been appointed as the new Chief Operating Officer of LOCSU, the organisation has announced.

Richard WhittingtonMr Whittington, who joined LOCSU in the summer as Assistant Director, Commissioning, will take up the new post with immediate effect.

The new Chief Operating Officer role was created following the recent news that current Managing Director, Katrina Venerus, will at the same time move into a new part-time role as Clinical Director to allow her to fulfil her long-held ambition to complete an MSc in Healthcare Leadership as part of her professional development.

Announcing the appointment, LOCSU Chairman, Alan Tinger, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to appoint Richard as the first Chief Operating Officer of LOCSU.

“With his specialist knowledge of commissioning and service redesign, having worked at a senior level in NHS commissioning, Richard possesses the specific skills and practical experience that will help us make progress on our strategic aim to increase the pace and scale of eye health services and take out some of the strain on hospital capacity.
In the short time he has been with LOCSU he has shown that he is the ideal candidate to take LOCSU forward and help us deliver the Breakthrough Strategy.

He continued, "This really is great news for the sector and for patients who will see the benefits of more optical practices becoming the first port of call for all eye health matters.
Richard will benefit from the support of Katrina Venerus who has led LOCSU magnificently in the past four years as MD. Her new role as Clinical Director means that LOCSU has continuity and a formidable top team to drive progress and deliver success.”

Devon Local Optical Committee visits Westminster to lobby local MPs on issues facing community eye care across Devon.

November 2016

The Devon Local Optical Committee visited Westminster on Tuesday 25th October for a roundtable discussion with the Devon MPs hosted by Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton.

Devon LOCThe Devon LOC along with Neil Parish were joined by Ben Bradshaw, Sarah Wollaston, Kevin Foster and Anne-Marie Morris along with Parliamentary Assistants representing the other Devon MPs.

All the Devon MPs have visited optician practices across Devon and have seen the workforce in the community and heard what optometrists and dispensing opticians can offer and have personally seen the innovative technology and services available to patients.

Max Halford, Chairman of Devon Local Optical Committee said: “Community optical practices are at the forefront of delivering high quality, patient-centred and cost effective healthcare in community settings.

“It was encouraging to hear that the local MPs were all hugely supportive of the work optometrists and dispensing opticians do in their communities, and that the MPs fully support the role of community optical practices in delivering minor eye conditions services. It was great to see our local MPs get behind us and support opticians in Devon to provide high quality eye care across the county"

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton said “It was a pleasure to welcome the Devon Local Optical Committee to Parliament for the meeting. I know all my Devon colleagues who attended learned a lot and saw first-hand the crucial work optometrists and opticians carry out in our local communities.”

“Especially in a largely rural part of the country like Devon, it is vital people know where they can access high quality eye care. As with so many health problems, it’s important that minor eye conditions are spotted early before they become more serious. Eye problems can also be a sign of other serious health conditions, like diabetes and high cholesterol, so it’s important people get checked regularly.”

[Image: Left to right: Charles Bill, Vice-Chairman, Max Halford, Chairman and Jonathan Drew, Business Manager]

Poster Competition deadline approaching for NOC meeting.

October 2016

NOC 2016There are less than two weeks left to submit your abstract for this year’s National Optical Conference Poster Competition

We want LOCs, LOC Companies and LEHNs to share learning and best practice at the NOC which we know delegates value enormously.

With around two thirds of LOC Companies now delivering community services, this year’s poster competition will allow you to showcase your pathway successes.

LOC Companies should complete a 400-word abstract by Monday 3 October 2016.

Poster Categories

There are two categories designed to showcase the excellent work being undertaken by LOCs, LOC Companies and LEHNs across England:
1. Service Impact
2. Public Health

LOCSU will organise to have your poster professionally designed. We are not looking for academic posters but you can submit images and data relevant to your entry.

Optical practices should be high street health hubs.

October 2016

McShane and VenerusHigh street optical practices can deliver preventative health for patients, especially for those who do not often visit a GP, as highlighted by a new guide for local authorities, jointly produced by the Optical Confederation, Local Optical Committee Support Unit and the Local Government Association.

The eye health and public health experts say that optical practices are perfectly placed to deliver health and lifestyle check-ups, offering care closer to home for patients and taking pressure off of hospitals and GPs.

The guide, Improving eye health through community optical practice, calls on local authorities to make better use of the nationwide network of optical practices in every community to make every contact count and help combat smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, falls, isolation and more.

“A sea change is required in eye health care delivery, and opticians and optometrists can be a vital part of that,” says Katrina Venerus of the Optical Confederation.

“With the NHS under such serious financial constraint, health and well being boards are encouraged to utilise existing resources such as optical practices in their plans to tackle unhealthy lifestyles and future problems of an ageing population.

“Optical practices should be the first port of call for all eye health issues, not just thought of for sight tests and buying glasses. Optometrists and opticians are dedicated health professionals who can make a difference to the health of local people in every community.”

Opticians and Optometrists have the clinical skills and the long-term customer relationships, along with community locations and seven-day opening, to make significant health interventions.

Practices can act as high-street health hubs advising on lifestyles, behavioural change and signposting, as demanded by the Five Year Forward View’s focus on prevention.

The guide is aimed at Health and Wellbeing Boards in England and Scrutiny Committees, who may find the guide useful when reviewing Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs).

Follow the link for a copy of the guide:

[The photo includes, from left to right, Cllr Jonathan McShane, Local Government Association and Katrina Venerus, Local Optical Committee Support Unit]


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