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GOS sight test fees to rise 1.9% from April 2021

The increase is the first boost to GOS funding since 2015

black calculator and pen
Pixabay/Steve Buissinne

The national negotiating body for eye care in England has expressed hope that a 1.9% rise in General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) sight test fees is “the first small step on a journey to a properly funded national sight-testing infrastructure.”

The GOS sight test fee will increase from £21.31 to £21.71, while the continuing education and training payment will increase to £584. The grant to supervisors of pre-registration trainees will increase to £3762.

Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) chair, Paul Carroll, greeted news that GOS sight test fees would rise for the first time since 2015, but highlighted that the increase would not fully address the erosion of GOS fees by inflation in recent years.

“After five years without any increase to reflect the rising costs of care, a 1.9% increase in GOS fees now will understandably disappoint a loyal and hard-working sector, which has gone the extra mile in keeping eye care services running over the past year when hospital care was often just not available,” he said.

However, Carroll noted that the increase is a signal that the Government and NHS England have understood the value of primary eye care and the need to move towards fairer treatment of GOS contractors in the future.

“We hope this is the first small step on a journey to a properly funded national sight-testing infrastructure to help meet growing eye health need, focus on prevention and deliver more care outside hospital closer to home,” he said.

AOP Board member, Gordon Ilett said: “Although the increase is less than the profession deserved and needed, it does show that NHS England recognises the need to end the damaging freeze in GOS fees, and jointly we will continue to press for more realistic funding for GOS.”