On the bright side

30 April 2021
Spring 2021

A message from Colin Davidson, College President.

I am sure we are all looking forward to an easing of lockdown restrictions in the coming months. It is over a year since I took over as President and I can safely say I never expected the last year to develop in the way it has.

I have written before about changes to the way we practise and how COVID-19 has added its share of challenges to our daily clinics. Some of these changes began before the pandemic struck, but we are now seeing their benefits in our practices. In this issue of Acuity, we highlight several great examples of how this may impact us in our day-to-day work. 

The first of these is the roll-out of electronic GOS claims through Primary Care Support England (PCSE) Online. Our article delves into the benefits of replacing the processing of 18 million GOS forms by hand with a much more efficient electronic system. 

The real advantage of eGOS is that each form is validated as it is completed so it won’t be rejected on submission, something I’m sure will be welcomed by busy optometrists. Be sure to take a look at Katrina Venerus’ top tips for getting this underway in your own practice.

Optometrists have done their bit as frontline workers, enabling early access to vaccines

As I have been seeing patients through the pandemic, I have found myself using fundus imaging and OCT more and more. I have been lucky enough to have access to wide-field imaging, and in our article on this very topic, we explain how both OCT and imaging are helping to reduce the amount of close contact between patients and practitioners. OCT and wide-field imaging are now available in many more practices and this can only be good for both patients and clinicians.

Another positive change is how independent prescribing (IP) optometrists have found an increased role in managing patients with acute eye problems. While IP optometrists are able to manage a wide range of eye conditions, there remains variability in how they do this. Some may have access to NHS prescription pads, while others prescribe on a purely private basis. This seems to be governed by location and the different processes across the four nations.

The article explores the benefits and challenges this has presented to IP optometrists in “following the script”.

Finally, the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out across the UK. Optometrists have done their bit too as frontline healthcare workers, enabling us to get early access to vaccines and allowing us to feel safer at work. Hopefully, this means we can all look forward to a less restrictive summer. 

Related further reading

This online peer review session is open to College members and will cover your GOC peer review requirement.

The standardisation of digital imaging across eye care services will transform efficiencies, accessibility and timely care of patients.

Can you insist that NHS patients pay for an OCT scan?