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Cataract Referrals

This information is for patients whose GP is within the Mansfield and Ashfield or Newark and Sherwood CCG Areas Only.

The CCG are now asking that for all cataract referrals, a prior approval process is completed before they will fund the surgery.

What is prior approval

This is to check that the patient meets the criteria for cataract surgery, as set out in the procedures of limited clinical value

What are the Procedures of Limited Clinical Value (PLCV)

This is a list of medical conditions where the NHS will only fund treatment when certain criteria are met; this has been around for a number of years and the provision of Cataract surgery falls within this.  Nothing has changed with this, but the CCGs have now formalised this by introducing the process of prior approval.

How is the prior approval done

This is done after a sight test, at the time referral and involves indicating which criteria the patient meets and that they are interested in surgery.  This is the extent of what is required; we do not have to offer choice of hospital nor do we have to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery, as these are outside the GOS contract.

What is required of the Optometrist

The CCG would like you to indicate at the time of referral which criteria are met, by ticking a box and also to confirm that the patient is interested in surgery. This can be done on the normal GOS 18 by attachinga separate sheet, using the LOC designed cataract GOS18 or by including the criteria list on your normal practice stationary.

What happens if the prior approval isn’t completed

It is likely that this will cause delay to the patient’s treatment and the referral will be returned to you for completion. After discussion with the AOP, it is a moot point when the optometrist’s duty of care ends in the referral process and as we all want to do the best for the patients; this simple step will help provide a smoother journey for them.


For practices that provide ‘direct cataract referral’, please use the form that was issued to you by the CCG.

The LOC has designed an alternative GOS18 Cataract Ophthalmic Referral form, which includes the PLCV criteria - please click here

A copy of the PLCV criteria is also available for practices to 'cut & paste' onto their own stationary - please click here


Bassetlaw - Diabetic Eye Screening Service

NHS England have undertaken the process of procuring the Diabetic Eye Screening Service for the Bassetlaw population.  We can confirm that the successful provider was Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (DBH);  who will be delivering the service as of 1st April 2017.

DBH will be working on mobilising the service over the forthcoming months to ensure a smooth transition for all stakeholders and service users.

An alert to AOP members about potential fraudulent activity

The AOP and LOCSU have been made aware that people are calling AOP members ‘on behalf of the AOP’ trying to obtain personal contact information over the phone. 

You should be aware that these individuals are not employed or appointed by AOP to make these calls and you should not give any personal information out over the phone.

If you have passed on any data or are concerned about this matter, please call the AOP membership team on 020 7549 2010.

The members who notified the AOP were contacted on practice numbers not personal numbers, so be sure to update your practice teams.

The callers have given the names of Tom Everett, calling from a mobile number ending 0460 and Chris Shringham, calling from a mobile number ending 1291. We are also aware of a female caller.

This matter has been reported to the Police.

Why are they targeting members?

The AOP suspect it is to gather email details to send so-called 'phishing' emails using a bogus email account. These email accounts may appear to be from the AOP or an official agency such as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) telling people they are due a Council Tax refund.

These emails are designed to capture sensitive financial information from their victims, either by taking them to a fake website or by downloading malicious software to computers, that allow the fraudsters to track and trace internet usage.

It appears that these fraudsters are calling members using the public GOC register. We don’t have any indication of a data breach or cyber-attack on our side.

Top tips to keep yourself safe online

The Fraud Investigation Unit gave us these top tips for keeping yourself safe online:

•    If you have provided personal information, change all of your online passwords to the highest recommended security settings and do not use the same password twice

•    If you receive a suspicious email, you should delete it straight away without accessing any web links or downloading any files

•    If you aren’t sure if an email is legitimate once you’ve opened it, look for clues like language used – are they using unusual terms? Or are they calling you ‘Dear member’ rather than a personalised  ‘Dear Mr Jones’ (as we do in our communications). You can also          hover your mouse over the sender's email address, it will reveal the true source rather than what is displayed at first

•    Check your social media accounts and make sure you do not have any personal information displayed, such as your date of birth

If you have given a personal email address to someone you are not sure about, consider closing your email account down and opening a new on


Healthwatch Nottingham & Healthwatch Nottinghamshire

Healthwatch Nottingham and Healthwatch Nottinghamshire are independent organisations that help local people get the best from their health and social care services. They  listen to people's experiences of services in the city and county and use this evidence to bring about changes in how services are designed and delivered.

They decided to collect evidence on experiences of opticians as they wanted to know more about what local people think of these services.

Please click here to view 'Question of the moment - how was your visit to our Opticians'


Advice On Referral Of Low Risk OHT Patients

Recently minuted at the CCG Ophthalmology Working Group is advice from our local Ophthalmology Consultants at Queen’s Medical Centre.

14th Jan 2016.     03.01.    The guidance on hospital referral for patients with pressures of 21-24 was checked and local protocols can be put in place to avoid the
need for hospital referral. It was agreed to remind optometrists that such patients can be referred to the referral refinement scheme for review and monitoring.  

Patients with no suspicion of glaucoma who have OHT within the 21-24mmHg range are of sufficiently low risk not to require treatment, they can therefore either
be referred via the GP to the Community Ophthalmology Service or monitored within the optometrists practice if this is within your competence.


Department of Health Ebola Alert

The DoH has issued the following alert and update below on the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, and to remind you of the need to remain vigilant for cases imported to the UK.

Please click here to view full alert.

It includes further information on identifying and managing possible cases of Ebola virus disease and actions for all clinicians to ensure preparedness for the possibility of an imported case in the UK.


Prescribing Update - Blephaclean

The Derbyshire Joint Area Prescribing Committee (JAPC) reviewed the evidence and formulary status of Blephaclean at its April meeting, following requests from optometrists to GPs to prescribe this.

Our decision was to advise GPs NOT to prescribe this and similar products, and I write to inform all optometrists of this decision.

As you know, blepharitis is a common and chronic condition that can usually be managed straightforwardly with adequate self-care measures.  We feel that prescribing products such as Blephaclean is not an effective use of limited NHS resources.

It would be helpful if optometrists can sign post patients to resources that promote self-care  e.g. NHS choices

Thank you
Dr Andrew Mott
Chair of JAPC


Important Information - Referrals to Ophthalmology

To help improve the 'quality' of referrals into Ophthalmology, Nottinghamshire LOC have put together some guidance - please click here to view.


Wet AMD Fax Referrals To Kings Mill Hospital

We have received reports that some fax referrals for Wet AMD to Kings Mill Hospital have not been received.

As a fail-safe and to prevent long delays that can lead to irreparable vision loss, we would advise you to telephone the ophthalmology secretaries on 01623 622515 extension 6154 to make sure that your fax has been received.

Ocular Lubricants

The National Drug Tariff has produced an introductory document for GPs on ocular lubricants.  It gives the background to ocular lubricants in general and discusses the issue of preservatives in eye drops.

Please click here for further details.

The Use Of Volk Lens In Practice and How The LOC Works For You

Following a recent practice compliance visit by an Optometric Advisor, a local Optometrist was referred to the NHS Local Area Team (nee PCT), for lack of competence in the use of Volk lens despite being mentored by several Optometrist.

This case highlighted several issues, not least, when does a contract compliance visit become a performance review but, also exactly what is the position on the use of Volk lens in Optometry practice.

Volk lens appears on the nationally agreed list of practice equipment and, as such, during a contract compliance visit it is quite correct that the Optometric Advisor would check that there was a lens available within the practice for any Optometrist to use. However, there is nothing in legislation that requires a practitioner use a Volk lens. The ‘Sight Testing (Examination and Prescription) (No2) Regulations 1989, simply refer to ‘an intra-ocular examination, either by means of an ophthalmoscope or by such means as the doctor or optometrist considers appropriate’. That said, if a case goes before the GOC Fitness to Practice and it was deemed that Volk lens was the appropriate viewing method but was not used, it would be difficult to defend.

Until recently Volk lens was not a core competency for registrants with the GOC, but since the advent of CET in 2005, the view of the GOC is that it is incumbent on ALL registrants to ensure that their skill base meets the standard of new registrants, but they have no formal process, within the CET system, to verify that this occurs. The LOC feel it is appropriate to advise practitioners of the view of the GOC, and encourage everyone to design their own professional development to improve their skills to meet the current core competencies. It is also the view of the College of Optometrists that, for patient and practitioner comfort, Volk Indirect Ophthalmoscopy is the more preferable method of viewing the fundus.

This particular case was escalated to the NHS Area Team Performer’s List Decision Panel and the LOC was to advise the panel members. When they heard the legal position around practitioner discretion on examination equipment, they closed the matter.

This highlights the role of the LOC as it works for you, the practitioner/contractor.

The members of the LOC are available to offer support and advice to all practitioners and contractors, and are willing to visit practices prior to, and during compliance visits.

The LOC would encourage any contractor / performer who finds themselves involved with the NHS area team processes to fully engage with them, and to know that the LOC is there to offer support.



Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2017 11:08  


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