Staffordshire LOC COVID 19 Update 19th May 2020 at Staffordshire Local Optical Committee

Staffordshire LOC COVID 19 Update 19th May 2020

Hope you are all keeping well. 
  • As it stands, routine sight testing is still suspended in the UK. Current clinical advice on delivery of essential, urgent and emergency eye care remains in place (OFNC press release below).
  • You will also be aware of the current government position on lockdown measures and also proposals for what the 'new normal' may look like. In line with that, it is important for all contractors to be aware of the kind of changes that will be required when we get the go ahead to open practices for routine eye care. To this end, I am enclosing COVID-19 Recovery phase recommendation from ABDO (attached) and 'Back to Work Guidance' from AOP link:
  • The LOC has received some reports of patients being seen for apparently 'Routine' Eye examinations with spectacle dispense. There has also been reports of face to face examinations where telemedicine/ video consultation would have sufficed. Therefore, I want to use this update to just remind you all of our obligations which were first set out by NHS England on 1st April 2020 (NHSE letter below).
  • It is absolutely critical that all practices adhere to the guidelines that have been issued by NHS England/ representative Optical bodies around Essential & Urgent Eye care provision during the COVID-19. This is to be carried out using GOS and MECS, where commissioned. If you need a reminder on how this needs to be executed, refer to the College of Optometrists COVID-19 guidance:
  • Telemedicine/ video consultation is always the first choice. If this option cannot provide diagnosis/ enough information for adequate management of potentially sight threatening symptoms, only then is a face to face appointment required. There is guidance on remote consultations available
  • While I recognise and share some of your frustrations in not being able to function as we normally would, I would like to stress that we are still in middle of a global pandemic and as Eye care professionals have a duty of care to deliver care to our patients within the official guidelines. 
  • Finally, you are probably aware of the proposed CUES pathway framework, which I summarised in the last LOC update to you (5th May 2020). The only update to share on this is that we are in talks with the CCGs at the moment, so watch this space.
Please read and share with all your staff. If you have any queries or would like to provide some feedback, contact Alison at the LOC Office.
Kind Regards,
Irfan Razvi
Staffordshire Local Optical Committee

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