Work collaboratively with colleagues in the interests of patients

 10. Work collaboratively with colleagues in the interests of patients

AOP advice in meeting the standard

10.1 Work collaboratively with colleagues within the optical professions and other healthcare practitioners in the best interests of your patients, ensuring that your communication is clear and effective. Members should consider this standard practice.
10.2 Refer a patient only where this is clinically justified, done in the interests of the patient and does not compromise patient care or safety. When making or accepting a referral it must be clear to both parties involved who has responsibility for the patient’s care. If members accept referrals from fellow practitioners this should be done in writing and the referral should be to a named optometrist within the practice.
10.3 Ensure that those individuals or organisations to which you refer have the necessary qualifications and registration so that patient care is not compromised. It is reasonable to presume if referring a patient to another optometrist, GP or to the hospital that the person receiving the referral is suitably qualified. We do not believe that members need to check qualifications in these instances. If you are referring a patient to a non-conventional location you may want to ensure that it offers the relevant services with suitably qualified staff.
10.4 Ensure that patient information is shared appropriately with others, and clinical records are accessible to all involved in the patient’s care. Patients may request access to their records as specified by the Data Protection Act 1998. You should provide relevant information when referring or transferring care to another practitioner, however it is not practical or possible to make all records available to all practitioners in the current optometric health infrastructure. Members are advised therefore if they receive a valid request for access to health records, including the consent of the patient, they should if they are the legal owner of the records comply with the request. If they are employed or a locum bring it to the attention of the business owner.
10.5 Where disagreements occur between colleagues, aim to resolve these for the benefit of the patient. Members should consider this standard practice.

Read 11. Protect and safeguard patients, colleagues and others from harm...