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No change to social distancing within optometry following elective care overhaul

The College of Optometrists has confirmed that changes to infection prevention and control within hospitals do not apply within primary care

medical professional
Getty/SouthWorks

A UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) review that recommended changes to infection prevention and control procedures does not apply to primary care settings.

The measures, which are aimed at easing the burden on the NHS in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, include a reduction of social distancing from two metres to one metre and removing the need for a negative PCR test and three days of self-isolation prior to elective procedures.

The UKHSA also recommends that standard rather than enhanced cleaning procedures be adopted.

Responding to the review, the College of Optometrists clarified that the UKHSA statement only applies to elective care providers in England, within areas identified as low risk.

“It does not apply to primary care optometry settings, which remain in the medium risk pathway,” the College highlighted.

Optometry practices should continue to follow the College of Optometrists’ Amber guidance, which includes information on physical distancing and cleaning requirements.

The UKHSA highlighted that the changes are the first step towards freeing up capacity within the NHS and social care in low-risk areas.

“This advice should be used by acute care providers to help them start to make safe changes to their services, in line with a local risk assessment. It is hoped that these recommendations will help to ease some of the pressure created by the pandemic,” the UKHSA noted.