COVID-19 GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT

All information correct as per 24th February 2021

As a LOC we want to do what we can to support colleagues through this challenging time.

To assist local practitioners and contractors, we have put together guidance on patient management during the crisis brought on by the virus. If you scroll below, we have chronicled as a series of links to available guidance and resources you may find helpful as you face the challenges of the COVID crisis. We also aim to support you in every way we can, so if you want to contact us via phone or email, there are some contact details of LOC officers at the bottom of this page. Please don’t shoulder this burden on your own as if we all work together, we can emerge from this crisis stronger.

Continuation of routine NHS General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) and private eye tests

NHS England have indicated that, as per government guidance, contractors can continue to provide GOS during the latest lock down period. Contractors should always inform NHS England of any revision they need to make to the hours they provide GOS.

The Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) are monitoring activity levels with NHS England and will encourage them to consider further financial support for GOS contractors, if required. Copies of previous OFNC communications can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

We are in regular contact with our local NHS England team, so if you experience any difficulties with this and need our help, please contact us and we will do our best to assist.

The GOC, College, AOP and FODO have also recently updated their guidance for provision of all eye care services.

PCSE, eGOS and the new paper claim forms

PCSE has announced that their onboarding process for online GOS claims has reopened. Any contractors who have not yet started to submit GOS claims online. Users will now benefit from a number of service improvements which have been implemented over the past two months that have enhanced system performance.

Please note that PCSE online is different to the PPE portal, so all contractors who wish to submit GOS claims online need to register.

Contractors are encouraged to move to online submissions, however paper forms will still be available for contingency use. The current paper forms are only valid for claims up to 31 January 2021. From 1 February 2021, a new style paper GOS form will be used. Contingency packs were issued to contractors by PCSE in September. If you did not receive a supply or need more forms, they are now available to order.

If you have any problems with this, please contact us for assistance.

COVID-19 Vaccines for frontline health workers

The LOC has made contact with local health organisations to establish arrangements for optical practices and their staff to obtain vaccines, as per NHS guidance issued on 7th January 2021, a copy of which can be downloaded below.

The LOC has made arrangements for slots to be available for Optometrists, Dispending Opticians and all support staff at 4 local vaccine hubs. These are St Helens Totally Wicked stadium, as well as Aintree, Broadgreen and Warrington hospitals. The LOC sent out emails to all performers and contractors on our database with details of how to arrange for staff to be vaccinated. So, please check your inbox and contact us if you don’t receive these emails and we will let you have the required information. Also, it would be helpful if we could have consent to include your email address in our database so you continue to receive our future communications.

COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES)

CUES started in Knowsley on Monday 22nd February 2021. That now means that all 4 of our CCG areas are commissioning CUES from Primary Eye Care Services, supported by St Helens and Warrington Eye departments. So patients with a GP in Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington CCGs can access CUES. Also, participating practices can provide CUES to any patient with a GP in all areas throughout the country where CUES is commissioned.

If you are not currently providing CUES, but now wish to be involved, please contact us and we can assist you on the steps to achieve accreditation.

Please see below for updated guidance on managing patients where CUES in Central Mersey. Also, further information regarding direct referrals to our local HES, St Helens and Warrington can be accessed on this site at: http://www.centralmerseyloc.org/direct-referral/

PPE

NHS England have made arrangements for practices providing GOS to receive stocks via an online PPE portal. Practices with NHS email, will be sent an email with instructions on how to sign up to this portal and arrange ongoing supplies of PPE. Therefore, you will need to obtain NHS emails from NHS England for the practice and eye care professionals before being granted access to this portal.

If you have had any difficulty setting up your access to the portal, please contact us and we’ll do our best to assist.

COVID 19 PATIENT MANAGEMENT

Management of urgent & emergency patients without CUES

Please note guidance document below

Patient Management where CUES is being commissioned

Please note guidance document below

USEFUL WEB RESOURCES

OTHER

LOC OFFICER CONTACTS

Please contact us for local support and guidance.

CHAIRMAN

SECRETARY