As Scottish practices bid farewell to paper-based General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) claims, Optometry Scotland has raised concerns about the intention of the NHS Scotland Practitioner Services Division (PSD) to charge for ongoing paper submissions during the interim period.
NHS Scotland has confirmed to OT its intention to charge for paper GOS claims, commencing at a date in 2017.
Optometry Scotland emphasised that, at present, only about 7–8% of GOS claims in the country are submitted electronically.
While the organisation agrees that moving to an electronic claim system is “desirable,” a transition “must be far enough in advance to enable the profession to prepare,” Optometry Scotland chair, Nicola McElvanney, highlighted.
According to Optometry Scotland estimates based on PSD proposals, the paper processing charge will cost a practice, on average, £200 a month for each optometrist in the business, Ms McElvanney told OT, adding: “When optometrists haven’t had an increase in GOS fees since 2010, this is yet another added expense for the practitioner.”
Optometry Scotland operations manager, Debbie McGill, explained that no resources or support had been offered to practices to ease the transition to electronic claims.
She emphasised to OT that: “It’s disappointing that it’s come to this.”
Optometry Scotland is seeking legal advice and will protest the planned fee implementation to the Health Minister, Shona Robison, and other members of the Scottish parliament, Ms McElvanney outlined.
She warned practice owners that: “Despite our best efforts, PSD may well make the decision to proceed with charging. Therefore, we remind [practitioners] of the options currently available, which they should consider.”
More information on electronic claims and forms for Scottish practices is available on the PSD website.