Established by the NHS (Amendment) Act 1949, Local Optical Committees (LOCs) were formed to be the official representatives for all GOS contractors and practitioners within their area, and to work with their local CCGs and NHS regional teams on matters relating to NHS optical services. LOCs are funded by a statutory levy on GOS sight tests in their locality.
Bucks Local Optical Committee covers the whole of the county of Buckinghamshire, its area mirroring that covered by the following Clinical Commissioning Groups: Milton Keynes CCG and Buckinghamshire CCG. In line with the government's plans to integrate health and social care, Buckinghamshire CCG will become part of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire West ICS (Integrated Care System), known as 'BOB', and Milton Keynes CCG is part of Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes ICS, known as 'BLMK'.
NHS England have approved the merger of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in principle. Therefore NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG will be formed on 1st April 2021.
The LOC's primary functions are: to ensure the smooth running of General Ophthalmic Services within Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes; to liaise with NHS England and CCGs, or other relevant bodies, to help shape eye care services that meet local need; and to consult on eye health pathways and matters affecting optical professionals. In addition, it works to help optometrists and dispensing opticians keep abreast of key changes, and offer support to help them meet their duties.
It also sees its function as maintaining high standards of practice and runs many educational courses. For this purpose it is registered with the GOC as a CET provider.
Dispensing opticians who are not contractors are also welcome and encouraged to engage with the LOC and attend events.