Booking has opened for the National Optical Conference (NOC) 2016, which is said to mark a pivotal year for local optical committees (LOCs) with the launch of the sector’s Breakthrough Strategy “injecting a new dynamism for community services.”
Delegates at the conference, (10–11 November, Hilton Birmingham Metropole NEC) will be given updates on how the LOC Support Unit (LOCSU) has expanded its commissioning team and is helping LOCs deliver the new minor eye conditions service (MECS) and step-down care “to propel the sector forward.”
In addition to the latest strategic picture on the commissioning landscape, delegates will hear about the latest research and developments in new models of care as part of the profession’s efforts to reduce pressures on hospital eye services and to make optical practices the first port of call for eye health problems.
Invited headline speakers include the new Primary Care Minister, David Mowat, policy makers from the NHS, plus leading figures from ophthalmology and public health.
Local optical committees receive one free place at the conference. According to LOCSU, with many LOCs sending new officers and first-time delegates, this year’s NOC will be “a huge learning opportunity” with an extensive series of practical workshops and networking meetings.
As the programme takes shape, LOCSU managing director, Katrina Venerus, said: “We understand that many LOCs prize the unrivalled networking and learning experience from the NOC, giving delegates a great range of hands-on skills to take back to their LOC.
“Last year’s feedback revealed how useful the practical workshops are at letting delegates see the bigger picture on NHS commissioning and best practice from LOCs and LOC Companies across the country,” she emphasised.
Ms Venerus added: “NOC 2016 will again have arrangements in place to support first-time delegates. We recognise that arriving at the conference as a newly-elected LOC officer can seem quite daunting, especially when everyone around you appears to know the ropes and they seem to be meeting up with old friends and established networks.
“Again, for NOC 2016, we will be putting in place support measures specifically aimed at first-time attendees,” she revealed.
“We want to do everything we can to ensure that everyone has a positive experience at the premier conference for LOCs,” she concluded.
A welcome group will greet newcomers and there will be a reception for first-time delegates to meet each other and share experiences. A ‘buddy’ system will match conference newcomers with experienced delegates to talk about LOC matters and to discuss how to get the best out of the NOC programme across the two days.
Ms Venerus highlighted: “We will be announcing the details of the full programme as speakers, sessions and extras, such as the poster competition, are confirmed. But, without doubt, it will remain a not-to-be missed event in the optical calendar.”
The NOC is organised by the AOP for LOCSU and the Optical Confederation. To book, visit LOCSU's website.