NHS Digital will share General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) workforce and activity data in 2020 following a consultation on its proposal to cease publication.
The body proposed to stop publishing the data because of issues with data quality, relevance and usage but responses to the consultation did not support the idea.
NHS Digital received 17 responses from NHS organisations, central Government and professional bodies, including the AOP.
The AOP’s clinical director, Dr Peter Hampson, said: “We’re pleased that NHS Digital have changed their minds and decided to continue publishing this vital data. It’s also encouraging that they’re looking at options to improve the data in future years. If the optical sector is to achieve its full potential, then we need more data not less.”
“The AOP led the sector’s response to this threat and we’re delighted that so many colleagues around the sector joined us in opposing the plan to stop publication,” he added.
Responses to the consultation highlighted that the data is the only source of information for ophthalmic services and informs decision making, planning of service provision and funding processes.
Respondents also called for NHS Digital to investigate the data quality issues and seek to improve it by working with the relevant bodies.
NHS Digital said that it will investigate the availability, quality and relevance of data from the new provider of ophthalmic primary care support in England and will work with organisations to determine whether GOS publications continue beyond 2020.
It noted that the new data source does not include workforce information for ophthalmic practitioners in Wales. As a result, NHS Digital said it was unable to commit to continue publishing workforce data for Wales after the 2019 release.
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