Amendments to NHS performers list regulations
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently conducted a very short consultation without notice regarding changes to the National Health Service (Performers Lists) (England) Regulation 2013, which apply to GPs, dentists and optometrists.
OFNC’s response focused on issues impacting primary eye care services, including proposed changes to DBS checks for performers list applicants from overseas, the process for those returning to the performers list, annual declarations to remain on the performers list and a requirement to inform NHS England about any issues raised with insurers.
The requirement to notify NHS England whenever an insurance query is made had the potential to place a significant, additional, and unfunded burden on practices and performers. OFNC made a strong case both face to face and in written submissions to the DHSC and we are pleased to announce that this proposed requirement was removed.
The new requirement for practitioners to make an annual declaration confirming they wish to remain on the performers list and that their information is up to date remains. However, OFNC arguments for this to be proportionate and light touch were heeded. We have received assurances that this will be included in guidance on which OFNC will be consulted.
Among other minor changes, DHSC agreed a streamlined and less time-consuming approach for returners to the list, and for applications from overseas to mirror the visa requirements for attestations of good character.
The new regulations1 have been laid before Parliament and will come into effect on 18 September 2023.
Note for 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. 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.
OFNC will work with NHS England on general guidance on the changes and will consider whether any further sector specific guidance for optometrists and GOS contractors is required.