The introduction of sustainable transformation plans (STPs) has resulted in a delay of some local commissioning decisions while clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) grapple with planning and service delivery over wider geographic and population footprints.
Despite this, we have been making steady progress on our breakthrough targets, with 52% of CCGs committed to offering a minor eye care service (MECS) to patients. This is measured against a first-year objective of 60% of areas with MECS commissioned.
Going forward, it’s important that we continue to mirror CCG and STP development. A key part of making sure that our planning, and optics now generally, is in parallel with CCGs and STPs is that we are also using the same vocabulary.
The case for making optical practices the first port of call for eye health remains the same and within this message we must be agile enough to mirror the ever-changing lexicon of the NHS.
Our approach calls for commissioners to deliver more activity in primary care through the use of extended primary care services such as MECs. However, we still see and hear parts of the NHS talking about shared care and enhanced services. Given this, it is important that commissioners understand the rationale for our offer. As a sector, we need to talk consistently to the NHS in terms they understand but that are sufficiently compelling to state our case and credentials.
"Going forward, it's important that we continue to mirror CCG and STP development as we stride forward"
Our next major focus is on step-down care. While this is understood by the sector, other service deliverers and budget holders; nonetheless, it has a pejorative feel among the public, who may perceive it to mean an inferior service. In LOCSU, we tend to talk about Community Monitoring as this is the more accurate term and it may go some way to removing any negative connotations.
It’s not an exact science but if we can synchronise with commissioners, be consistent and use the same terminology, it will go a long way to helping us to make our case.