17 December 2021

NHS confirms that GOS will remain a national service when the Health and Care Bill becomes law

General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) in England will remain a national demand-led service under a nationally agreed GOS contract and nationally negotiated fees and grants, with no local variation.

This was confirmed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSE-I) on Friday 10 December at a meeting with optical bodies to discuss the Health and Care Bill (currently before Parliament).

As part of the bill, Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will replace Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Under the new structure NHS England will devolve the management of GOS contracts to ICBs. However, this will simply be about contract management, GOS itself will be without local variation. 

The Bill also introduces a new commissioning framework for local services known as the Provider Selection Regime (PSR). Optical bodies have agreed to work collaboratively with NHS England to help ensure the PSR helps ICBs understand the Primary Ophthalmic Services (POS) framework and enables them to make the best use of extended primary eye care services for the benefit of patients and the wider NHS. 

Related further reading

Clinical Adviser for the College Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom on how to ensure a sustainable optometry workforce.

Clinical case studies can make a small but important contribution to the sum of clinical knowledge. Why do we need them, asks Kim Thomas, and how do you write one?

The College’s Clinical Editor, Jane Veys MCOptom, on rabbits in the headlights and royally good handovers