OFNC update: The impact of the new lockdown on practices in England
Update from the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC)
Following the introduction of a new national lockdown in England this week, the OFNC has continued its discussions with NHS England on potential additional support for optical practices affected by the new restrictions.
Under the new rules optical practices are able to remain open, prioritising essential and urgent care and also offering routine care where capacity allows. However, it is already clear that the new restrictions are having an impact on people accessing eye care, and will cause continued difficulties for domiciliary providers in accessing care homes until the vaccination programme makes progress.
The OFNC and NHS England have agreed to work together to monitor activity levels, and will continue to meet frequently to assess any changes to the current situation and discuss the parameters under which NHS England may consider further intervention to support providers. We will provide further information on this as soon as we can.
GOS contractors are invited to contact their OFNC representative body in confidence with information about the viability of services as a result of the new restrictions. The OFNC will draw on this information (in anonymised form) in its work with NHS England. Please use the following contact details:
Meanwhile the OFNC’s member bodies are working with others in the sector and with NHS England to ensure that all patient-facing staff in optical practices and domiciliary providers can access COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible, and will continue to provide updates.
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.