OFNC update: NHS England agrees to cancel planned GOS grant deductions to offset contractors' PPE costs

Update from the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC)

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As explained in previous OFNC updates, we have agreed with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that NHS-funded PPE would be provided to all GOS contractors and have continued to work with NHS England on a pragmatic solution to reimburse practices for PPE costs they incurred before the DHSC PPE portal was made accessible to GOS contractors on 17 August.

Our goal has been to ensure that practices do not lose out from having to source PPE privately for NHS work, while avoiding the bureaucratic burdens involved in submitting and processing receipts, and splitting PPE costs between NHS and self-funded care.

We have now agreed with DHSC and NHS England that the most pragmatic way of achieving this is by cancelling the planned GOS support payment deductions of 6.43% for mandatory contract holders and 7.86% for additional (domiciliary) service contracts, that were due to be applied to support payments for the period from 1 April to 17 June 2020.

Contractors do not need to take any action to implement this agreement.

NHS England has made no deductions to date and now will not do so. This means that contractors no longer need to hold back provision for the retrospective deductions from the support payments they received during the first lockdown.

We hope GOS contractors will welcome this as a fair and simple solution which avoids adding to the administrative burdens on practices in these difficult times.

We have updated the OFNC FAQs guidance to reflect this development.

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For media enquiries, please contact Vicky Vine, Communications Director, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2046.

Notes to Editors

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.