Primary care comes together to call for amendments to the Health and Care Bill

Primary care make the argument for representation in new commissioning structures

Representative organisations across primary care have joined forces to ensure the professions will be represented in new commissioning structures and as part of the decision-making process set out under the Health and Care Bill.

With the Bill at committee stage in the House of Lords, industry bodies across optometry, dentistry, pharmacy and audiology have put forward a number of suggested amendments to ensure appropriate primary care inclusion.

Under the current plans, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be replaced with Integrated Care Systems (ICS) as part of the new structure for commissioning. Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs), also outlined in the proposals, will bring together partners to address public health and social care needs at a local level.

In a jointly signed briefing document, the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) – made up of optical bodies including the AOP – the British Dental Association, the British Medical Association, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and National Community Hearing Association have called for primary care professionals to be included as members of ICPs.

The briefing also advises that Integrated Care Boards have a duty to consult Local Representative Committees and audiology in primary care when agreeing annual forward plans, or making decisions that will impact primary care service delivery.

The AOP has previously flagged concerns around the reforms and we continue to work with others in the sector to manage the risks in some of these areas.

We published our Strategy for Optometry in June 2021, which sets out our view of the future of optometry to provide consistent and efficient eye care across the UK.