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Making a CET claim in England

The process to claim for a CET grant in England has changed in 2020, meaning applicants will need to complete the entire process online. Henry Leonard, head of clinical and regulatory at the AOP, breaks it down

claims form

What is a CET grant?

As we know, optometrists have to do a certain amount of Continued Education and Training (CET) over the three-year cycle to meet regulatory requirements. The NHS provides grants to those who provide GOS sight testing, in order to help them cover the costs related to this training.

Under the current system in England and Wales, every individual optometrist has to claim the payment through an NHS contractor, such as their employer. The system in Scotland and Northern Ireland allows individuals to apply for the grant directly.

The grant is claimed in arrears, meaning the application window that is currently open allows you to make a claim for CET completed in 2019. The cap is set at £573.

How the process has changed

This year, the CET claims window for England opened on 1 August and will close on 30 November.

For the first time, the process to claim CET grants will be entirely online. This means that postal forms will no longer be accepted, and that you will need to complete your section online first.

Who is eligible?

Optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners (OMPs) who perform General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) are allowed to claim a grant towards CET they have undertaken.

To make a claim within the window, during the relevant claiming period you must have:

  • Been on the relevant ophthalmic list for at least six months
  • Undertaken GOC-approved CET
  • Performed primary ophthalmic services under a GOS contract. 
Henry Leonard, head of clinical and regulatory at the AOP

Preparing to make a claim

To complete your section online, you’ll need to be registered with the correct roles on Primary Care Support England (PCSE) Online. If you want to make a claim for a grant within this application window, you need to ask your practice's user administrator to set you up and attach you to the practice you work at.

Those wishing to make a claim for a CET grant in England must do so via a contractor. You are expected to claim through your employer if you’re an employee, but you’re not obliged to. Locums are advised to apply through a practice that they work for, but again they are not obliged to do this. If you work for more than one contractor and they have both given you paid time for CET, it is up to you whom you nominate, but you should check whether there are any CET clauses in your locum contract/s (if applicable).

If you’re approaching a contractor you have not worked for, you can reassure them of your eligibility by providing evidence of your CET activity, plus a written statement from an employer showing you’ve undertaken GOS sight tests.

If you cannot find a contractor to vouch for you, your Local Optical Committee (LOC) or Regional Optical Committee (ROC) may be able to assist.

Claiming as a performer

As a performer, you should:

  • Log in to PCSE Online as a GOS Performer
  • Select ‘Ophthalmic’ and click on ‘make a claim’
  • Select ‘CET’
  • On the declaration page, check your details, sign the declaration, and select ‘Save awaiting contractor signatory’
  • Your claim will then be automatically forwarded to your contractor signatory to sign
  • If you are also contractor signatory, once you have saved your claim you can read and sign the declaration and click ‘submit’ to complete.

Claiming as a contractor

As a contractor, you should:

  • Log in to PCSE Online as a Contractor Signatory
  • Select ‘Ophthalmic’ and click on ‘Search for a claim’
  • Search for the claim using the drop-down menu
  • Click ‘Open’ to view the claim
  • Read and sign the declaration
  • Click submit
  • Your claim is now complete.