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NHS England to shift primary care contract management functions to Integrated Care Boards

NHS England has confirmed to the OFNC that GOS will remain a national contract following the transfer of responsibility in April 2022

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Pixabay/Jason Gillman
NHS England has confirmed that General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) will remain a national contract after announcing that all primary care contract management functions will transfer to Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) from April 2022.

The Health and Care Bill, currently before Parliament, will change NHS commissioning structures in England, including the establishment of new ICBs.

On Thursday (22 July) NHS England announced that all primary care contract management functions, including GOS, would shift to ICBs rather than NHS England regional teams.

NHS England confirmed with the national negotiating body for eye care, the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC), that GOS terms, fees and grants would continue to be negotiated nationally.

Commenting on the announcement, OFNC chair, Gordon Ilett, said: “There is no appetite anywhere in the system for 42 variations of the same GOS sight-testing and case-finding contract. Today’s announcement builds on a constructive meeting OFNC held with NHS England earlier this month which confirmed that if GOS contract management functions transfer to ICBs, the national GOS contract terms, fees and grants will still be negotiated nationally. This is the most efficient model for both the NHS and contractors, and means there will be no material changes for GOS contractors or practitioners.”

He added: “We hope that ICBs will add value by commissioning extended primary eye care services at scale. This will help tackle the unwarranted variation caused by the small footprint of Clinical Commissioning Groups. We will continue to work closely with NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care to ensure the new arrangements work well for contractors, practitioners and above all patients.”