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Opchat Magazine Professional Matters PagesProfessional Matters News, October to December 2019

Optometry/Dispensing

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ABDO responds to GOC research on risk.
Optometry Scotland – breaking down the barriers between primary and secondary care.
GOC Publishes survey results into risk in the optical professions
ABDO Rule Changes
GOC erases Suffolk based optometrist
AOP publishes guidance on the GOC’s new Business Standards
AAO Academy Foundation announces the 2019 AAOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grant Recipients
GOC announce launch of new business standards website
Electronic GOS payments and Performers List services on PCSE Online changes
Scotland: Complete your GOS mandatory training deadline reminder
GOC welcomes the Professional Standards Authority Performance Review
Archived News from the last quarter on Professional Matters July to September 2019


ABDO responds to GOC research on risk.

October 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has responded to GOC research into risk in the optical professions. ABDO president Clive Marchant FBDO said: “The Association welcomes this report. We are delighted to read that the optical profession and in particular dispensing opticians continues to provide an outstanding service to the public with minimal risk. This clearly demonstrates that our high level of education and independent external examination is robust."

“Dispensing opticians and optometrists are advancing their scope of practice and the range of services that they provide in high street practice. This is a great advantage for the public and will contribute to an ongoing reduction in cases of preventable sight loss. Clearly this is only possible if our level of education is robust and progressive, and assessed by independent external examination. The GOC education review must recognise that our current education and examination model is fit for purpose but must be progressive to incorporate the advancement of skill which are currently are obtained post qualification."

“The GOC’s key function is public protection and if the professions’ excellent low risk track record is to be maintained higher standards are essential. The concept of minimum standards and variable methods of qualification is unconscionable.”See GOC story

Optometry Scotland – breaking down the barriers between primary and secondary care.

October 2019

Eyecare leaders are launching Scottish Eyecare for Everyone (SEE) – a nationwide network and forum that will advance eye health in Scotland. The decision follows an eyecare policy event at the University of Aberdeen on 25 September to mark National Eye Health Week.

The SEE will aim to break down barriers and foster collaboration to ensure Scotland’s primary eye care service continues to lead the world in preventative eye health care and works even more closely with secondary care which is under increasing pressure.

Frank Munro, Optometry Scotland’s Clinical Advisor, said: “Pressure on secondary care services means many hospital eye departments are working to capacity – it’s vital that we now ask how community eyecare can be further refined, what more can be done to encourage joint working between primary and secondary care, and what else can be done to improve the current GOS arrangements to secure the future of Scotland’s eye health.”

GOC Publishes survey results into risk in the optical professions

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC) published last week the results of its survey and interview-based study into risk in the optical professions.

Analysis showed that optometry and dispensing optics remain low risk when compared to other healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses. However, the research shows that the risk profile of the professions could increase in the future as registrants take on more clinical work and encounter patients with more complex needs.

A variety of methods were used to conduct the research, including an online registrant survey, followed by focus groups and in-depth interviews with registrants and key stakeholders. Secondary research was also conducted via an analysis of GOC Fitness to Practise (FTP) data and information from the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS).

An analysis of the allegations received for each FTP case highlights that the most common allegations related to incorrect or missed diagnosis, inappropriate or missed referrals, failure to conduct appropriate tests, incorrect prescriptions provided, inaccurate/inadequate advice provided, and poor record keeping.

Registrants who participated in the research perceived that the riskier areas of practice related to detecting and managing ocular disease, referral decisions and independent prescribing (for optometrists).

Participants also viewed poor communication with patients and not being candid when things go wrong as two riskier areas of practice. It was suggested by some that poor communication could become a more severe risk in the future, because effective communication is likely to become increasingly important as optical professionals take on more clinical roles and responsibilities. More routine areas such as the sight test and fitting spectacles were seen as less risky.

In terms of risks related to the context in which registrants work, participants perceived the following as most likely to occur in practice:

• Time constraints with patients
• Commercial and performance target pressure
• Poor or inadequate staffing
• Working as a locum

The research also explored perceptions of the future risks to patients in the next five years. Stakeholders identified the following top four:

• Commercial pressure/ targets and time constraints
• Pressure on hospital services (delayed referrals/long waiting times)
• Lack of skills and/or training for enhanced optical services
• Unregulated online sales of contact lenses and spectacles

Dr Subo Shanmuganathan, interim Director of Education said: “Since we last conducted this research in 2010 the optical sector has changed a great deal. This research has provided a wealth of invaluable information about both the perceptions of risk and what we see as trends from our FTP cases. The research findings will help improve the actions we take to protect patients.

“One of the key insights that emerged from the research was the view that optical education and training needs to evolve to prepare newly qualified and existing registrants for changes in the optical sector. We will use this knowledge to inform both our Continuing Education and Training (CET) and Education Strategic Reviews.

“I would like to thank all of our registrants and stakeholders who participated. Many gave us a lot of their valuable time and the quality of the research reflects that input.”

To read the research report in full please visit the GOC website

ABDO Rule Changes

October 2019

At its consultation day last week, members of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) voted to pass amendments to the Association’s rules, enabling a wider pool of members to consider standing for the role.

Clive Marchant FBDO, ABDO president, explained the thinking behind the move: “In recent years, the activities of the Association have grown enormously. Subsequently, the president’s role has expanded to encompass two roles: as an ambassador representing the Association at home and abroad at graduations and many inter-professional events; and chair of the ABDO board, attending a vast variety of internal and external meetings.

Most members are employed DOs and have family commitments, so the current presidential workload could be prohibitive to many considering taking on the presidential role.”

The changes to the Articles of Association will enable those elected from within the board to either take on the full presidential role or to have a split role. The latter would entail being a ceremonial president without chairing the board and undertaking the political role, or vice versa. If an individual elected from within the board elects to only take on the political role and chair the board, the changes enable the board to elect a ceremonial president outside of the board from the wider ABDO membership.

Clive continued, “We hope that these changes will encourage and enable more members to come forward to seek election to the board and consider progressing to president or chairman of the board. It will also enable those outside of the board to take on a ceremonial presidential role.”

A Special General Meeting of the ABDO Benevolent Fund also voted on amendments to the Trust Deed to bring it up-to-date and in line with modern governance.

GOC erases Suffolk based optometrist

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to erase Jignesh Patel, an optometrist based in Suffolk, from its register. He will now be unable to practise as an optometrist in the UK.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of his conviction of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Julia Wortley said:

“The Committee accepted that the Registrant stated his intention was never to speed in a motor vehicle again. The Committee also accepted that many people who know the Registrant are prepared to work with him again and that those people appear to understand and forgive his actions. However, the Committee was of the view that the wider public would be very concerned that a professional optometrist had been convicted of such a serious offence, is still serving a sentence and is proposing to return to unrestricted practice.

“The Committee considered that, although a single incident, this was a very serious incident resulting in the death of a young man, for which the Registrant was responsible.

“In the Committee’s view it was necessary and proportionate for the Registrant to be removed from the register to promote and maintain public confidence in the profession and to promote and maintain proper professional standards of conduct for members of the profession.”

Mr Patel has until 24 October 2019 to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate suspension order.

AOP publishes guidance on the GOC’s new Business Standards

October 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has published comprehensive guidance for members on the new GOC’s Business Standards, which came into effect on 1 October.

The Standards for Optical Businesses replace the previous GOC Code of Conduct for business registrants.

Welcoming the new standards, AOP Clinical Director, Dr Peter Hampson, said: “The new Business Standards should help to redress the balance between the expectations placed on individual registrants and those placed on businesses. This was one of the AOP’s main areas of concern when the GOC originally published the standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians in 2016. These new standards go some way to making those requirements fairer.”

The AOP’s guidance, which has been produced in response, aims to help members navigate the new Business Standards – highlighting how they can be met.

Speaking about the new online resource, Dr Hampson said: “We’ve produced this guidance to help business registrants feel confident when making changes to their practices or existing policies and systems in order to reflect the GOC’s new Business Standards. The advice will evolve as it becomes clearer what the GOC expects from business registrants, but in the meantime, it should enable members to be well prepared and ensure they comply.”

The GOC’s Business Standards are split into three main areas, with sub areas for each:

• Your patients

• Your culture and governance

• Your staff

To read the AOP’s guidance visit here

AAO Academy Foundation announces the 2019 AAOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grant Recipients

October 2019

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 AAOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grants. The program was started in 2014 to create a climate of giving back to the profession and promote involvement in Academy chapters at North American schools and colleges of optometry. Each school raised the funds and the money is being matched with a travel grant opportunity for each student to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry, October 23-27, 2019.

The 2019 recipients and the participating institutions are:

Alexandra Beachnau Illinois College of Optometry
Randi-Jo Francis Illinois College of Optometry
Ashley Ladd Indiana University School of Optometry
Cade Millikin Indiana University School of Optometry
Anthony Offerle Indiana University School of Optometry
Noa Robson Indiana University School of Optometry
Elizabeth Casper Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Alexandra Matejczyk Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Hannah Sanders Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Brianna Weber Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Erin Filbrant The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Derek Heimlich The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Lindsey Hutchinson The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Lindsay Page The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Paige Scott The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Emma Thompson The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Ashley Bachkhaz Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Jessie Vorachek Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Alex Kim State University of New York College of Optometry
Siyun Ren State University of New York College of Optometry
Mackenzie Edwards Dziedzic University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Kelsie L. Morgan University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Sadiksha Prasain University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Nicole Leigh Roddy University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Samantha Lin University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Thuy Nguyen University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Julia Bao University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
Silva Lo University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
Brittany Martin University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
Logan Ritchhart University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry

GOC announce launch of new business standards website



The General Optical Council (GOC) announces the launch of a new website to support the new Standards for Optical Businesses that came into effect on 1 October 2019.

The website presents the new business standards in an accessible and searchable format, making it easy for optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical business owners to find the information they require. The website hosts supporting guidance, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and videos with top tips about how to apply the standards in practice. The website also includes a blog which will feature interviews with opinion leaders and business registrants.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy said: “Our new Standards for Optical Businesses came into force on the 1st October 2019. The new standards reflect the good practice that all optical business owners should follow and we urge all businesses to read them and decide how to apply them in their practice. We also welcome the support of our stakeholders in raising awareness of the standards and publishing guidance for their members.

“We hope that our new standards website will be a useful resource for all registrants and optical business owners. We will be adding content on an on-going basis and welcome feedback about the kind of content we should provide.

“I would also like to encourage anyone who would like to learn more about the new Standards for Optical Businesses to register for our CET accredited webinar on the 24 October. The webinar presents a great opportunity for registrants to engage with us directly.”

The new Standards for Optical Businesses replace the previous Code of Conduct for business registrants and reflect changes in optical practice including the use of new technology, expanding scopes of practice and multidisciplinary working. In addition to providing support to optical business owners, business standards also help enhance public confidence. Independent research showed that 84 per cent of patients interviewed said they would rather ‘use an optical business that meets a certain set of standards, than one that does not’.

Visit the Standards microsite: https://standards.optical.org/

To register for the GOC Business Standards webinar visit here:

Electronic GOS payments and Performers List services on PCSE Online changes

October 2019

Ophthalmic Payments
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PCSE receives and manually processes almost 20 million handwritten GOS forms a year. In a digital-age we want to provide you with a more efficient way to submit, track and manage your claims. We are looking to create easy-to-use systems that will simplify and speed up the ophthalmic payments process by:

Introducing two new electronic options for securely submitting GOS claims

Launching an online service so you can track claims, view statements and more easily reconcile your payments.

The move to electronic processes will remove the need for paper, reduce supplies and postage costs, offer greater visibility of claims, provide statements at the click of a button and in turn simplify your reconciliation processes.

You can find more about the benefits of the new service here.

You can also read some of our Frequently Asked Questions about using PCSE Online for Ophthalmic Payments in our FAQ Booklet.Performers Lists

Performers List Applications

We are introducing a simple, online service for submitting and tracking performer list applications.

All applications will be made online, through PCSE Online, instead of via a paper-based application form.

Applicants will be able to submit supporting documentation online and check the status of their application too. Where required, the PCSE National Engagement Team (NET) will carry out face-to-face identity checks.

A self-service function will enable performers to confirm or amend their own details (e.g. change of address or status) via the portal as and when required.

Overall, the move from paper-based applications and change notifications to online will create a more simplified, quicker process.

Download more information including the benefits of the new service here

Scotland: Complete your GOS mandatory training deadline reminder

October 2019

General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) providers in Scotland are reminded that all optometrists and OMPs have to undertake annual mandatory training.

Optometry Scotland (OS) has confirmed that for 2018/19 all First Port of Call Reflective Account of Practice must be submitted by 31 December 2019.

If this is not completed no payments will be received for delivering GOS services. OS signposts all practitioners to the 10 Step guide – GOS Mandatory Training.

GOC welcomes the Professional Standards Authority Performance Review

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today welcomed the publication of the Professional Standards Authority (‘the Authority’) Annual Review of Performance 2017/18. The GOC has met 22 of the 24 Standards of Good Regulation.

The GOC met all of the relevant standards of good regulation for its Standards and Education work and made progress with the management of Fitness to Practise (FTP) complaints. The Authority’s report notes the improvements that the GOC has made to its fitness to practise (FTP) processes, including the introduction of acceptance criteria to assess whether a complaint may constitute a fitness to practise allegation; and changes to the triage process which is used to determine whether a full FTP investigation will be opened.

Lesley Longstone, Chief Executive and Registrar said: “We welcome The Authority’s report and their feedback on our work to protect the public. We have endeavoured to improve the initial assessment activity we undertake at triage stage when we receive an FTP complaint, so we are pleased to see this is recognised in us meeting the relevant standard.”

The standards the GOC did not meet related to data errors on the register and the total time taken to process fitness to practise complaints. The review covered the period 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2018.

Lesley Longstone added, “In respect of the data errors, we have now improved our standard operating procedures to ensure that post hearing, amendments to the register or registrant record are made at the appropriate time. We are confident that these improvements will address the Authority’s concerns in this area.

“However, we recognise that we still have significant work to do in addressing the backlogs and delays within our FTP process. We are confident that our updated acceptance criteria and enhanced triage process will ensure that we only open investigations into those concerns that could impact on a registrant’s fitness to practice or to undertake training. We are committed to reducing the time it takes to investigate FTP concerns, and will ensure that cases are regularly reviewed and closed at an earlier stage where there is no ongoing risk to the public. Currently our ability to hold FTP hearings is reduced by the limited availability of hearing panel members. We are pleased, therefore, that we have now secured the legislative change needed to appoint extra panel members. This will allow us to hold more FTP hearings simultaneously and speed up the process of dealing with complaints for the benefit of patients and registrants.”

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley added, “Earlier this year the Government published its response to its 2017 consultation: Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation. There was a welcome emphasis on modernising FTP processes so that regulators can make FTP decisions more quickly, to provide an early resolution for patients and registrants. We look forward to getting more detail about their proposals and taking those changes forward.”

The full report is available at here https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/publications/performance-review-detail/performance-review-goc-2017-18


 
 
 
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