5 March 2018
The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) has been in negotiations with NHS England to secure funding to provide IT connectivity between optical practices in England and the rest of the NHS. It had been hoped that this could come from an underspend this year elsewhere in primary care, as has been widely reported in the media. Unfortunately, at the last minute, this proved not to be possible. However NHS England do now seem to accept that investment in this area is needed and have committed to working with the OFNC to find a solution in 2018/19, although no budget has yet been allocated.
Ann Blackmore, FODO Director of Policy and Strategy and OFNC Secretary, said: “NHS England have confirmed that the requirement for all primary care referrals to be electronic from October will not apply to optical practices. Nevertheless, however we look at it, this change is likely to result in more work for some practices and GPs which could have been avoided. Looking ahead our shared aim with NHS England must be to develop a simple and straightforward system of IT connectivity as soon as possible and we will continue to press NHS England hard on this.” If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7298 5156. To see the full OFNC statement, click here