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NOC 2020: “This is where the innovation happens”

Optometrists are encouraged to sign up for the National Optical Conference, which is being held as a series of virtual sessions between Wednesday 25 November and Thursday 3 December

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The National Optical Conference (NOC), held by the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU), launched on Wednesday 25 as a virtual event.

This year the NOC will be held as a series of virtual daytime and evening sessions taking place between 25 November and 3 December.

The sessions, which are free to attend, cover topics including the National Outpatient Transformation Update, the COVID-19 response, and clinical pathways.

Speaking to OT, Richard Whittington, LOCSU chief executive officer, explained that running the event virtually has provided the opportunity to engage a wider audience. Encouraging optometrists to join the event, he said: “My message to the LOC and optical community is if you want to come, be engaged in the discussion and learn – particularly around things like the outpatient transformation project – then sign up.”

“The more people who can engage with the pathway delivery process the better,” he added.

Sessions will feature a wide range of panel delegates, Mr Whittington said, adding: “There is an opportunity for everyone to get involved.”

Zoe Richmond, LOCSU interim clinical director, also encouraged engagement in the sessions, telling OT: “This is where the innovation happens. We need LOCs to have these conversations and feed that up centrally. That’s one of the purposes of the NOC – bringing everybody together and understanding what is important to them.”

The event launched with a session on the National Outpatient Transformation Programme, including an update on the work of the programme to-date and a Q&A session.

Reflecting on what the session offers, Mr Whittington shared: “There is an opportunity here for everyone to come together, ask questions and get an overarching and consistent understanding of what NHS England as the leaders of this project want to be able to deliver.”

The NOC event comes at a time when NHS England is considering the way services will be discussed and structured in the future, with LOCSU highlighting the opportunities available to consider how services are commissioned.

Ms Richmond emphasised the importance of looking at the longer-term when considering pathway redesign, commenting: “There is so much opportunity to deliver broader healthcare and much more clinical care in optical practice and we need to seize it.”

A virtual NOC and the NHS moving away from localism

For more about the National Optical Conference and the sessions available visit the LOCSU website, or to book visit the AOP events page.

For students and newly-qualified staff, the NOC will hold a session on 2 December introducing the aims, work and output of Local Optical Committees and LOCSU. Take a look at OT’s Instagram to find out more.