People with Learning Disabilities

Please see message below from Daniel Harris, Vice-Chair Herts LOC

 

Dear Colleagues

 

My name is Daniel Harris and I am vice-chair of Hertfordshire LOC. I want to inform you of a pilot scheme to provide eye care to people with learning disabilities (PwLD). We would like as many practices as possible across Hertfordshire to take part in the pilot, so I want to give you some information about the scheme. If we can get the pilot running successfully, then this will really help our case to get more EOS commissioned in Hertfordshire.

 

Meetings have taken place over the past year between, Hertfordshire Local Optical Committee (LOC), Hertfordshire County Council (Purple Star), SeeAbility and East & North Herts CCG, with a view to launching a pilot scheme for PwLD. In this scheme, accredited optometrists would provide eye care to PwLD, making reasonable adjustments as required, in order to enhance the health outcomes for this group of people. It is important to make it clear that this will NOT mean that you will suddenly be seeing hundreds of PwLD! It may mean an overall increase of about one or two a month at most. The aim of the pilot is to see around 100 PwLD over a period of 18 months over Herts region.

 

PwLD are roughly ten times more likely to have significant visual defects compared to an average population, but they are also the least likely to get seen in practice, so there is great need for this service. At the moment, most of us will already be seeing a number of PwLD, and will probably be making some adjustments to our clinical/practice processes (such as booking double appointments, etc.) to accommodate their needs. Currently we do not get paid extra for this, but on the scheme we would get a fee of £52 from the CCG. This would be on top of any GOS claims.

 

In order to provide any service for the NHS, there are certain criteria that need to be met, and this is no different.

 

Firstly, we have to show that we have a good understanding of safeguarding issues. Accredited optometrists need to have their Safeguarding level 2 certificates (one for children and one for adults at risk). These certificates are available on the DOCET website. Login to DOCET at the link below;

 

https://docet.info/login/index.php

 

You can then find the following courses, Safeguarding Adults (Level 2/Core) and Safeguarding Children (Level 2/Core).

 

We will also need current Enhanced DBS certificates for participating optometrists. DBS checks need to be current (within 1-3 years). The CCG may request an updated DBS check. Once the DBS certificate is received, the optometrist can register their certificate online with the update service run by the gov.uk website (https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service). This has to be done within 19 days of the date when the certificate was issued. The optometrist can then pay an annual fee of £13 and their Enhanced DBS Certificate is automatically updated (for as long as they continue to pay their annual fee). 

 

Secondly, we need to show that we have the required competencies. This is demonstrated by passing the, ‘LOCSU Learning Disabilities’ Module on the WOPEC website. Each of the participating optometrists will need a WOPEC code in order to complete the online modules. There are no practical exams (or OSCEs) and CET points are awarded. The WOPEC code for this module can be requested by emailing Gill Abbott at Herts LOC (hertsloc@btinternet.com). Codes are available for both optometrists and dispensing opticians, so you need to specify which code you require. It would be useful for your qualified dispensers to also complete their module, although this is not required for accreditation to the pilot.

 

You can also take a look at SeeAbility's website https://www.seeability.org/sharing-knowledge/ and have a look at their easy-read library. SeeAbility were instrumental in designing the LOCSU Learning Disability Pathway, and have some really useful resources. They can also put on a CET event that will provide further accreditation and CET points. This will be arranged nearer the time when we’re ready to start the pilot.

 

Thirdly, each participating subcontractor will also need to complete the Quality in Optometry NHS Standard Contract checklist. Login to the website at http://www.qualityinoptometry.co.uk/ and select the NHS Contracts Tab. Then, in the drop-down box, select 'LOC Company Subcontractor Checklist'.

 

This is a bit of a mission, but it is a necessary administrative burden if we are to be involved in providing enhanced services. As a profession providing NHS services, we have been largely protected from the administrative requirements that the NHS places on the majority of its service providers. Unfortunately, this protection will not last, and if we want to continue to provide NHS services, then these administrative requirements will need to be considered as just part of the job.

 

Fourthly, the pilot will be administered using the national standard WebStar software. This is a secure cloud-based system, so will require a computer with internet access. The sight test results would still need to be recorded via your standard practice record keeping in order to claim the GOS components and to satisfy your records and procedures. However, certain results will also need to be entered via WebStar to generate the claim for the CCG fee. Further information on the practicalities of entering info will follow once the pilot is due to start.

 

One other thing! The Purple Star team have put a lot of effort into setting up the groundwork for this scheme. Their goal is to help us to help people with learning disabilities. I would strongly encourage you to contact Fay (fay.heatley@hertfordshire.gov.uk) and arrange for the Purple Star team to visit your practice to provide further training for all your staff members. I can guarantee it will be useful, interesting and informative and your staff will appreciate it. Having a good working-relationship with Purple Star also means that, if you have any issues with a service user, you have someone you know who you can contact.

 

Lastly, I appreciate that you, like me, are very busy, but I would urge you to make the effort and take part in this pilot. This can help to differentiate your practice from other opticians, and demonstrates the kind of service that you are able to provide. We also need to be well represented in this pilot in order to raise the profile of Hertfordshire optometrists with the CCGs. Please nominate one or more optoms to become accredited and email me with their names and contact details. You can then start going about getting safeguarding and DBS sorted out and get the WOPEC codes from Gill at the LOC. Purple Star accreditation is not necessary to the pilot, but it would certainly be helpful and engage the rest of the practice staff.

 

Please can you reply to hertsloc@btinternet.com as soon as possible, to let me know that you’re happy to be involved in the pilot, and we can quickly move the project forward. I’m sure you’ll have questions too, so please feel free to ask!

 

Best wishes

 

Daniel