AOP addresses domiciliary concerns within new Wales GOS contract

The association is in discussion with Optometry Wales over the scope of care for domiciliary patients, and how this will be funded

LM Wales

The AOP has raised member concerns over the scope of care that optometrists will be required to provide for domiciliary patients within the new Welsh General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) contract.

Concerns centre on how optometrists will be compensated for domiciliary care, particularly if follow-up appointments and/or later visits to deliver spectacles are required.

In the current contract, domiciliary optometrists in Wales are paid £21.71 for the sight test fee, plus £38.27 for a domiciliary appointment (2021 fees).  

In the new contract, a standard sight test will pay £43, but the domiciliary appointment fee will reduce to £26. Domiciliary appointments will fall under Eye Health Examination Wales Band 3, which will be a Level 2 service.

What the new domiciliary fee covers, and whether it will be supplemented in the case of follow-up appointments, has yet to be clarified.

Related to this is the reduction in some voucher values, which could lead to a further shortfall for domiciliary optometrists.

Members have expressed concerns to the AOP and the association is involved in an ongoing dialogue with Optometry Wales, including providing potential solutions, AOP clinical director, Dr Peter Hampson, said.

OT understands that the joint chairs of the Domiciliary Eyecare Committee have sent a letter to Optometry Wales, offering feedback on Welsh GOS proposals for domiciliary and low vison care, and are currently also in discussion on the issue.

Hampson said: “The work undertaken in Wales to provide a higher sight test fee is a positive step for optometry, but unfortunately a gap has emerged for those who provide the vital home visiting service.

“The AOP is committed to trying to find a solution for these patients and practitioners and, alongside sector partners, will be making some suggestions on how that gap could be closed.”