LOC News


HEFT (Heart of England Foundation Trust) who hold the contract for Digital Diabetic Retinopathy Screening in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country have launched a tender for ophthalmic contractors to apply to have their premises included as Retinopathy screening sites.

For details of how to apply go to finditinbirmingham.com and register as a user. Once registered and logged in click on OPPORTUNITIES and then on Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust - Diabetic Eye Screening Programme.  The link will take you to the  NHS Bravosolution site where you can access the intention to tender (itt).

The opportunity to complete the itt closes at 12.00 noon on 4th November. 


Enhanced Community Eye Care Services return to Sandwell and West Birmingham and will be improved in Solihull:

On 1st March 2016 Enhanced  Community Services:




Will be launched for patients registered with GPs in Sandwell & West Birmingham  CCG, Solihull CCG and Walsall CCG.  Any practice sub-contracted to Primary Eye Care (Heart of West Midlands) Ltd and with appropriately accredited optometrists will be able to participate and offer these services to appropriate patients.  These services have been available for patients of Wolverhampton CCG GPs since September 2014.  The services will be managed via the Webstar Optomanager platform.

For further details see the Community Services Page


Advice and Guidance for Community Optometrists

Currently optometrists and dentists are unable to use the NHS e-Referral Service as GPs do in order to receive timely responses from speciality consultants about clinical queries regarding their patients. Timely guidance (within one working day) enables these patients to be managed in a community setting with reassurance on clinical findings/symptoms and quicker implementation of clinical management. This means safer care for patients and reduced demand on specialist clinic appointments.

This same opportunity for seeking ‘advice and guidance’ is now to be offered by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust to community optometrists via the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre (BMEC) website: bmec.swbh.nhs.uk. Optometrists who may be unsure what to do with a patient can login to the tool and submit details including some mandatory patient information, a clinical history and if necessary upload visual acuity and eye scans. Advice will be provided directly to the optometrist within one working day from a BMEC consultant.

This advice and guidance tool will be accessible from 29/02/16 and the first time of use the optometrist will need to register as a new user on the ‘Advice and Guidance’ page. This will necessitate provision of referrer details, an NHS email address or provision of GOC no. so that an email link can be sent to the clinician for them to verify.

Its implementation will not only enable a reduction in referrals to clinic (and thereby help the waiting times for patients), but also offer an alternative to optometrists who may consider sending the patient to the BMEC ED.

TO OBTAIN A nhs.net email address which will allow you to share patient identifiable information to other nhs.net email addresses and facilitate the above service please contact David Brown (NHS England Optometry Lead for our area at david.brown23@nhs.net


The Next Midland Optical Society CET event:

Monday 15th February 6.30pm for 7.00pm start.

Avoiding GOS Reclaims 1 CET Point, Peter Hampson

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, 75 Harborne Rd, Birmingham, B15 3DH.




A pilot telemedicine service is being trialled in the north east of Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.

Optometrists who usually refer to Good Hope hospital can send images [photos/ OCT scans/ field plots] together with relevant patient information to David Kinshuck and Ramesh Sivaraj for an opinion.


Please see the instructions on the referrals guideline page and referral form.



If you have an nhs.net email account you can use this service directly.

Any other email account must first be activated.

You must ensure that you handle patient identifiable data appropriately and therefore before you start you will have to email bhs-tr.tele-eyes@nhs.net requesting a [secure] <subject> email you must then sign up to the encryption service

For full instructions please see  Secure email link on Good Hope website telemedicine page http://www.goodhopeeyeclinic.org.uk/telemedicine.html


It is only then when you reply to the email from bhs-tr.tele-eyes@nhs.net that your return email can include patient identifiable data and attachments.


For those of you in South, East and West Birmingham please be patient this service is not for you just yet




The NHS England Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country Area Team have advised all the LOCs across the area that, because "conversion rates" (the number of GOS3 claims submitted divided by the number of GOS sight tests carried out) in the area are considerably higher than the national average (national average is 37%) and there are a number of practices that have very high "conversion rates"  an initial study into claiming levels has been commissioned from the Merseyside Internal Audit Agency (MIAA) in conjunction with Ward Hadaway Solicitors.  Other statistics that have been looked at are numbers of tints claimed for as a percentage of the total number of pairs of spectacles supplied (national average roughly 2%) and the number of complete replacement pairs of children's glasses claimed for on GOS3s compared with the number of repairs claimed (national average 50% replacements to 50% repairs).


The initial investigation has already been completed simply using practice statistics for the past three years and the Area Team are considering the findings.


LOCSU and the Optical Confederation are aware of this action and will support local LOC officers as and when it becomes necessary.  The LOCs have requested a meeting with the Area Team before any further action is taken and Karen Helliwell has agreed that such a meeting will take place once the team have studied the report and considered their options.


Should the Area Team decide to take matters further the next step would be for MIAA to collect sight test and voucher forms relating to specific practices from storage and compare them with practice records to determine whether the claims submitted were "legitimate".


Any contractor approached by MIAA for access to their records is strongly advised to contact their LOC secretary immediately so that support from the LOC and the appropriate professional body can be arranged before MIAA make their visit.


You will have seen reports in OT and Optician on the results of a similar exercise carried out in the Merseyside area where a number of practices were asked to repay significant amounts of money, some running to tens of thousands of pounds.


All contractors should take this matter very seriously.  Do not attempt to fight any allegations brought against you yourself or using your own local solicitor.  The Optical Confederation have an experienced legal team which is there for all members to use so please contact us before doing anything yourselves.


Ian Hadfield (Hon Secretary Birmingham LOC)