Signature suspension extended by Department of Health and Social Care

A temporary suspension of the requirement for patients to sign GOS forms will continue until 31 August

Person signing document

The Department of Health and Social Care has extended a temporary suspension on the requirement for patients to sign prescription, dental and ophthalmic forms until 31 August, 2021.

The measure has been in place since November 2020 and is intended to stem the transmission of COVID-19.

“This is to avoid cross contamination and help minimise the handling of paperwork when collecting medicines or receiving dental and eye care,” a statement on the Department’s website explained.

Patients are still required to either pay the relevant charge or prove they are exempt from charges.

Dispensing, dental and ophthalmic contractors are permitted to mark the form on the patient’s behalf to confirm the patient’s entitlement to an exemption.

“Where patients would otherwise be required to sign the dental and ophthalmic forms, contractors will annotate the form with ‘COVID-19’ instead,” the statement noted.

AOP clinical director, Dr Peter Hampson, welcomed the extension of the signature easement.

“This follows repeated calls from us via the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee and from other primary care bodies for an extension, given the ongoing need to control COVID-19 and also the well-known problems with Primary Care Support England and the online payment system,” he said.

“We remain hopeful that the issues with PCSE will have been resolved before the extension comes to an end and that practices can look forward to a more settled future,” Hampson emphasised.