GOS changes for Scotland

Amendments to General Ophthalmic Services in Scotland will come into force on 1 October

Eye test equipment

Changes to General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) in Scotland, which will provide optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners with more freedom to make decisions based on individual patient need, come into force on 1 October.

Announced in July this year, the changes are a result of recommendations in the Community Eyecare Services Review, which was published in April 2017, and follow negotiations with the Scottish Government.   

As part of the changes, a fee of £38 will be offered for the newly-established enhanced supplementary eye examination (ESEE), in which optometrists consider if dilation is clinically necessary. This is higher than the supplementary eye examination fee of £24.50 where the patient is not dilated.

The ESEE fee recognises “the significant time needed by community eye care professionals to deliver a dilated supplementary examination,” Optometry Scotland highlighted.

Other changes include: revised maximum frequencies and early re-examination codes for certain primary eye examinations; revised requirements for equipment provision and record keeping; increases to CET allowances and changes to the application process; and an increased grant for supervisors of pre-registration trainees.

Ahead of the changes coming into force, the AOP has published a full summary of the amendments and has updated its GOS examination guide for members in Scotland, which can be downloaded from its website.

The Association confirmed that it would update its Making Accurate Claims in Scotland guide in due course.  

A welcome update

Welcoming the changes, chair of Optometry Scotland, Samantha Watson, said: “This is a huge step forward in allowing us to deliver person-centred care.

“We have negotiated with the Scottish Government extensively on these amendments and are encouraged to see further moves towards community optometry being the first port of call for all eye-related problems in Scotland.”

Scottish health secretary, Jeane Freeman, added: “These positive changes to GOS demonstrate our continued commitment to delivering safe, high quality and person-centred healthcare. They embed the role of the community optometrist as the first port of call for all eye-related matters in Scotland. We look forward to continuing to work with Optometry Scotland and other partners to make further improvements to GOS, as we continue to deliver on the recommendations of the Community Eyecare Services Review.”

A revised GOS statement is currently being issued to practitioners in Scotland.

The changes come into effect 10 years after the introduction of free sight tests in Scotland.