Thank you to all those who attended the LOC AGM on Thursday 6th July.
It was agreed that the Statutory levy payable on all GOS sight test fees should be increased from 1% to 1.5% from the payments due in August as a temporary measure to ensure that the Committee has sufficient funds to undertake the procurement and, if successful, the launch of Enhanced eye care services in the Birmingham Cross City and Birmingham South and Central CCG areas.
The Committee is grateful for the support of our constituents.
Birmingham contractors will be pleased to learn that the BSOL Sustainability and Transformation Partnership advised us on the day following the AGM that they are starting the procurement process with an engagement event on 9th August.
Primary Eye Care (Heart of West Midlands) Ltd supported by LOCSU will have a team present at the event and look forward to tendering for the contract on behalf of all Birmingham Contractors wishing to participate.
Enhanced Post Payment Verification of GOS claims in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country
The NHS England Optometry Team are continuing to target contractors with high conversion rates from GOS1 to GOS3.
Any contractor receiving a letter from the team seeking to recover GOS fees extrapolated back over 6 years should immediately contact the Secretary, Ian Hadfield, for advice. Any commercially sensitive information shared will be treated in strictest confidence.
All contractors should take this matter very seriously. Do not attempt to fight any allegations brought against you yourself or using your own local solicitor. The Optical Confederation have an experienced legal team which is there for all members to use so please contact us before doing anything yourselves.
DIABETIC RETINOPATHY SCREENING:
HEFT (Heart of England Foundation Trust) have now completed the procurement of photography sites in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country. Successful applicants have all been advised and new contracts have been sent to them. It is important that successful contractors should sign the documents and return them to HEFT as quickly as possible.
The first year of the Enhanced Community Eye Care Services in Sandwell and West Birmingham has now completed and has been well accepted by patients and the CCG.
MINOR EYE CONDITIONS SERVICE (MECS): Has performed well and is running at the expected level.
ENHANCED DIRECT REFERRAL OF CATARACTS: This service has been underused with less than half of the expected number of referrals having been made this way. It is important that every practice in the area should sign up to this service so that all referrals can be put through the enhanced system.
INTRA-OCULAR PRESSURE REPEAT MEASURES: This service is grossly underused
For further details see the Community Services Page
Advice and Guidance for Community Optometrists
Currently optometrists and dentists are unable to use the NHS e-Referral Service as GPs do in order to receive timely responses from speciality consultants about clinical queries regarding their patients. Timely guidance (within one working day) enables these patients to be managed in a community setting with reassurance on clinical findings/symptoms and quicker implementation of clinical management. This means safer care for patients and reduced demand on specialist clinic appointments.
This same opportunity for seeking ‘advice and guidance’ is now to be offered by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust to community optometrists via the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre (BMEC) website: bmec.swbh.nhs.uk. Optometrists who may be unsure what to do with a patient can login to the tool and submit details including some mandatory patient information, a clinical history and if necessary upload visual acuity and eye scans. Advice will be provided directly to the optometrist within one working day from a BMEC consultant.
This advice and guidance tool will be accessible from 29/02/16 and the first time of use the optometrist will need to register as a new user on the ‘Advice and Guidance’ page. This will necessitate provision of referrer details, an NHS email address or provision of GOC no. so that an email link can be sent to the clinician for them to verify.
Its implementation will not only enable a reduction in referrals to clinic (and thereby help the waiting times for patients), but also offer an alternative to optometrists who may consider sending the patient to the BMEC ED.
TO OBTAIN A nhs.net email address which will allow you to share patient identifiable information to other nhs.net email addresses and facilitate the above service please contact David Brown (NHS England Optometry Lead for our area at email@example.com
The Midland Optical Society is seeking a new Secretary to run it following the resignation of current secretary Inderpal Bansal
ANYONE INTERESTED IN TAKING ON THE ROLE WHICH CARRIES AN HONORARIUM IN EXCESS OF £1,500 SHOULD CONTACT IAN HADFIELD BY EMAIL.
A pilot telemedicine service is being trialled in the north east of Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
Optometrists who usually refer to Good Hope hospital can send images [photos/ OCT scans/ field plots] together with relevant patient information to David Kinshuck and Ramesh Sivaraj for an opinion.
Please see the instructions on the referrals guideline page and referral form.
If you have an nhs.net email account you can use this service directly.
Any other email account must first be activated.
You must ensure that you handle patient identifiable data appropriately and therefore before you start you will have to email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a [secure] <subject> email you must then sign up to the encryption service
For full instructions please see Secure email link on Good Hope website telemedicine page http://www.goodhopeeyeclinic.org.uk/telemedicine.html
It is only then when you reply to the email from email@example.com that your return email can include patient identifiable data and attachments.
For those of you in South, East and West Birmingham please be patient this service is not for you just yet.
Ian Hadfield (Hon Secretary Birmingham LOC)