New policies on Performer List applications in England welcomed by the OFNC

The revised policies aim to reduce bureaucracy and bring contractor professions into a more streamlined system

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Getty/Aleksandr Zubkov

New policies on applications to the Performers List in England have been welcomed by the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC).

The revised policies, which came into effect in England on 11 February, will bring contractors professions ‘into a common streamlined system,’ reducing bureaucracy, delays and duplicate checks, according to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The change will cover optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners (OMPs), as well as GPs and dentists.

Optometrists and OMPs who are applying to join the Performers List no longer need to provide evidence that they have signed up to Disclosure and Barring Service updates or that they have completed safeguarding training for working with adults and children.

They will also no longer have to demonstrate that they have the right to work in the UK, or, if they are returning to the list, that they have provided general ophthalmic services in the past two years in England.

Applicants who require initial educational or clinical support to work safely in UK primary eye care will no longer have ‘conditions,’ which would previously have remained on the record for their professional lifetime, applied.

‘Conditions’ have been replaced by temporary ‘agreement terms,’ usually involving an education or clinical support plan (ECSP). The practitioner’s admission to the Performers List will now be flagged as ‘probationary.’

This part of the policy change is intended for exceptional cases, for example international applicants who have practised under different systems, or returners who have been out of UK clinical practice for a significant time, NHS England has confirmed.

ESCPs and ‘agreement terms’ are now appealable to the First Tier NHS Tribunal. Previously, ‘voluntary agreements’ meant that applicants had no right of challenge or redress.

In the majority of cases, new UK graduates will not be flagged as probationary under the new policies.

Gordon Ilett, OFNC chair, said: “Following clarity and reassurances about these points from NHS England, we are happy to commend these changes to the profession.”

Other aspects of the Performers List policy remain as they previously were within the Framework for Managing Performer Concerns, which was reissued on the same date in February.

The new policies are based on the National Health Service (Performers Lists) (England) Regulations 2013, which remain unchanged.

The new policies and framework for performer concerns are available on the NHS England website.