Statement

OFNC statement: Financial support for GOS contractors in England

Statement from the Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC)

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The OFNC is today sending an urgent open letter to Ministers at DHSC about recent messaging from NHS England which suggests financial support to help optical practices deal with COVID-19 may stop at the end of June.

The letter points out that:

  • The optical sector has cared for patients throughout the pandemic, and is now preparing to resume care on a wider scale but will face reduced capacity because of social distancing
  • A cliff-edge end to financial support will make it impossible for practices to prioritise remote consultations, and will leave primary eyecare entirely unsupported in the event of any second wave of COVID-19
  • It will also raise an immediate threat that practices will have to prioritise private rather than NHS work in order to survive, however much this goes against their professional ethos
  • Without further delaying the resumption of regular care as patient need and demand continues to build, officials must now engage further with the sector to find an appropriate way of funding remote service delivery beyond the end of June

The letter also notes that in the coming week many optical practices in England will start to expand the care they offer to patients as far as they can, to meet growing patient need and demand, and that the sector hopes for early confirmation from NHS England that this can include providing sight tests to NHS patients. 

Read the full text of the open letter

ENDS

For more information, please contact Mary Jones, Interim PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or  020 7549 2040. 

The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) is the national negotiating body for eye care in England with the Westminster Parliament, the Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England-NHS Improvement. It comprises the leaders of the UK representative bodies: ABDO, AOP, FODO and BMA (for OMPs) and works in partnerships with the College of Optometrists and the General Optical Council.