Somerset Local Optical Committee
My Local Optician

COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR CONTRACTORS AND PERFORMERS

Please see below for the links to relevant information issued by the various national optical bodies:

The College of Optometrists  

The AOP  

ABDO  

GOC  

Latest LOCSU Update: 27/03/20

NHSE - GOS Provider Correspondence
Click here for the NHSE Optometry Essential and Urgent Risk Stratification Referral Guidance: 08/04/20
Click here for letter from NHSE to GOS Providers: 01/04/20*
Click here for COVID-19: NHS General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) Provider Update (London) 26/03/20

PCSE Correspondence
Click here for a COVID-19 update about PCSE services 30/03/20

Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) 
Click here for OFNC Press Release: Routine sight testing in the UK 13/05/20 
Click here for OFNC guidance on changes to Primary Care in England: 18/4/20
Click here for OFNC guidance on changes to Primary Eye Care in England: 08/04/20
Click here for OFNC correspondence re NHSE Letter dated 01/04/20
Click here for joint statement regarding essential opening arrangements - 24/03/20 
Click here for the statement regarding financial support and adjustment to contract requirements.
Click here for LOCSU's News Flash re OFNC Advice to all Optical Practices and Practitioners (23/03/20)

Advice re Viral Conjuctivitis
Click here for The College's well worded joint statement with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists about Viral Conjunctivitis and Covid-19. 

NHSE SOPs
Click here for the NHS England SOPs for Primary care. Content changes since the previous version are highlighted in yellow.

GOC Statements and Information
The GOC has issued a couple of important statements:

1) Click here for a joint statement with the other healthcare regulators recognising that professionals may need to depart from their usual procedures at this time.

2) Click here for reassurance that using professional judgement we can supply spectacles and contact lenses without first requiring the patient to attend an optical practice. 

The main GOC Covid-19 page which references these and other statements is here. 

Government Advice
The sector-specific advice above sits on top of the Government advice to all citizens (click here). This advises risk groups, those over 70 and those with underlying health conditions (details on the site) to follow social distancing measures.

Click here for guidance regarding social distancing.

It has been announced that schools will provide childcare (not education) for children of health & social care workers so they can continue to work. Click here for the guidance the schools are following is here. 

UPDATE POSITION FROM SOMERSET LOC AND THE LOCAL HOSPITALS

As you are all too aware, we are in unprecedented times. The Hospital system is under more pressure than ever to try to manage demand and keep vulnerable patients out of their clinics. We are currently working closely with the local eye departments to try and organise systems to help the flow of patients. They have asked us under these circumstances to consider our current actions as follows:
 
1. We need to send as few patients in to the hospital as we can, to reduce the risk of infection to them and to the staff.
 
2. Routine referrals will still be accepted but they are unlikely to be seen for at least 6-9 months.
 
IF REFERRING TO MUSGROVE:
3. They have specifically asked if we can accompany any referrals we are making with any imaging where possible. This will help them better triage patients and cut down on unnecessary hospital visits. Therefore we are asking to please send any referrals where imaging triaging is appropriate direct to the email address: 
 
OphthalmologySecretaries@tst.nhs.uk (with a normal copy of the referral to the patients GP but specify that you have emailed referral to hospital on the GP letter so the patient does not get referred twice)
 
They have also specifically stated: "Whilst preferable to come through secure e-mail. If unavailable unsecured should be acceptable with patient consent. The red tape should be set aside at this time."
"Patients may need a monitoring visit eg a pressure check or OCT whilst routine hospital appointments are suspended. We are trying to set up an NHS funded mechanism for this – initially it may be on a patient self-pay basis. We will update you on any developments."
 
IF REFERRING TO YEOVIL;
4. Yeovil will provide increased telephone support for patients and optoms with queries to help reduce unnecessary referrals. The telephone number for this is 07584 312399 or 01935 475122 extension 6198. if you have a referral which may be able to be managed in practice or need advice then phone the number for support.


PCSE COVID 19 UPDATE.
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OFNC STATEMENT
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