Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) chief operating officer, Richard Whittington, emphasised the value of a unified approach at the National Optical Conference (Chesford Grange, 8-9 November).
“What we have to do is work together. We have a single cause here,” Mr Whittington highlighted during his opening address.
He explained that LOCSU aimed to support the whole workforce in service development.
“Community monitoring services can’t be developed through a traditional optometrist-led model,” Mr Whittington shared.
“Everybody has a role to play in this. We have got a huge skill mix and we need to make use of it,” he elaborated.
Mr Whittington explained that an overarching challenge was maintaining the credibility of Primary Eyecare Companies (PECs).
A merger in the south of England provided a model for the consolidation of PECs, he added.
Consolidation allows for resources to be focused on delivering services rather than on board costs and supported the development of integrated IT systems, Mr Whittington observed.
Assessing the year in review, Mr Whittington noted that 55% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have commissioned, or intend to commission, a minor eye conditions service (MECS).
This is just short of the 60% target that was set through LOCSU’s Breakthrough Strategy.
Mr Whittington highlighted that LOCSU would aim to meet the second-year target of 80% of CCGs commissioning or intending to commission a MECS scheme.
Other goals for LOCSU over the coming year include supporting a sustainable and creditable PEC model, as well as developing and delivering community monitoring services.
Presentations from the National Optical Conference can be found on LOCSU’s website.