A new inquiry has been launched by the House of Commons Health Select Committee to examine the state of primary care delivery in England.
The inquiry, which was announced last week (July 30), will consider whether the Department of Health and associated bodies are delivering the high standards of care to patients in England.
Its scope includes the current standards of care, the commissioning of services, future models of care and the challenges faced by the sector’s workforce.
The response for the optical sector is spearheaded by the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU).
LOCSU managing director, Katrina Venerus, told OT: “LOCSU and the Optical Confederation will be making a written submission to the Health Select Committee inquiry to reiterate the key points we made in response to NHS England’s Call to Action for Eye Health last year.
“We will be restating our call for better utilisation of optometrists and opticians in primary care and for optical practices to be recognised as the first port of call for people with eye health problems.”
Ms Venerus added: “Through our response, we will take the opportunity to raise awareness among members of the Health Select Committee that national commissioning of eye care pathways to reduce unnecessary referrals to secondary care, and to transfer non-specialist work from the hospital sector to the community and investment in IT connectivity to transform the way community optical practices are integrated with the wider NHS and social care are key enablers to ensuring high quality primary eye care services are consistently available to patients at the point of need.”
The Health Select Committee comprises 11 MPs elected following the general election, in June and July. It includes members of the Labour party, the Conservatives and the Scottish National Party and is chaired by Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston.
The deadline for submissions is September 3, with oral submissions of evidence expected to be heard at Westminster in October and November.