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NHS England confirms funding arrangements for optical practices

GOS contractors that meet an activity threshold will receive funding for August and September, while all contractors will be reimbursed for PPE

black and white calculator
Pixabay/Steve Buissinne
NHS England has confirmed General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) contractors that meet an activity threshold will receive funding for August and September, while certain contractors will also receive financial support until the end of the year.

A statement from the national negotiating body for eye care in England, the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC), highlighted that practices that delivered at least 40% of their pre-pandemic GOS 1 sight test activity over August and September would be eligible for funding.

It is understood that September funding will be paid in arrears in November, with the NHS England Business Services Authority auditing a random sample of practices to check that the activity threshold is met.

NHS England will also provide additional COVID-19 funding until the end of 2020 for all domiciliary contractors and for GOS-dependent practices in deprived areas of England that meet certain criteria or can show they need support on an exceptional basis.

The OFNC understands that the funding for October and November will be paid to qualifying contractors in December, while the December funding will be paid in January 2021.

NHS England has agreed to the reimbursement of costs incurred by practices purchasing personal protective equipment. Payments will be made through a mechanism agreed with the OFNC.

An updated Standard Operating Procedure for optical practices has also been published by NHS England, detailing additional information on communications, staff risk assessments and operating arrangements.

Further details of the funding announcement can be found on the NHS England website.