OFNC continues discussions with NHS England over lockdown support

GOS contractors are invited to share information of the viability of services to inform the OFNC’s work with NHS England

woman eye test
Paul Diaconu/Pixabay

As practices consider the impact of national lockdown restrictions, the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) has confirmed it is in discussions with NHS England over potential additional support for practices affected by the restrictions.

The OFNC, made up of representative bodies including the AOP, invited GOS contractors to share information with their membership bodies, in confidence, on the viability of services under the restrictions.

Optical practices are able to remain open under the new national lockdowns, prioritising essential and urgent care and offering routine care where capacity allows.

However, in a statement the OFNC recognised that, “It is already clear that the new restrictions are having an impact on people accessing eye care, and will cause continued difficulties for domiciliary providers in accessing care homes until the vaccination programme makes progress.”

The OFNC said it is continuing discussions with NHS England and the bodies have agreed to monitor activity levels and assess changes to the situation, to discuss the parameters in which NHS England would consider further support.

The negotiating body has invited GOS contractors to contact their representative body in confidence, with information on the viability of services under the new restrictions. The OFNC confirmed it plans to draw on the anonymised information when working with NHS England.

AOP members are invited to contact the policy team if they would like to share information.