Page updated 4th April 2020 - 16.30 (All links should go to current advice from the respective bodies)
Remember to let NHS England know if you have closed your practice or altered your opening hours. It's helpful if you can include your ODS code. Make sure that your patients know what to do if they need care; this could include a notice on the door, emails and phone calls redirected (or an appropriate message available to patients).
Advice regarding urgent & emergency referrals during the pandemic is available to download from this page. The hospitals have advised us that they would prefer to receive such referrals in the usual manner. As this will involve a face-to-face appointment, we have compiled a list of those practices who are currently offering this service. Those who are might like to order free protective breath shields from Zeiss.
In light of the developing situation in relation to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19, this is a reminder to remain up to date with all public health statements and guidance. We've included links below, rather than the actual documents, as the links should be updated as the situation develops.
On 3rd April 2020 guidance on the use of personal protective equipment was issued by NHS England. The letter and associated documents are available to download here.
On 1st April 2020 NHS England issued an announcement, including details of support payments for practices which continue to provide essential care for patients during the COVID-19 crisis. Read the letter from NHSE here in full. This was followed on 2nd April by clarification from ONFC and by a webinar from the AOP, which may answer many practitioners' questions.
On 25th March 2020 an important statement on opening arrangements and key worker status was produced by the OFNC.
On 21st March 2020 ENT UK issued information on loss of sense of smell as marker of COVID-19 infection.
Following the statement issued by the GOC on 19th March 2020, the joint optical bodies have issued guidance and templates which may be used if spectacles or contact lenses are to be issued following telephone review.
There is a lot of information, regularly updated, on the GOC website.
The AOP has a useful FAQ section, which is regularly updated.
ABDO also has a dedicated coronavirus advice page.
The College of Optometrists has a daily update page.
LOCSU news includes regular Covid-19 updates.
The NHS, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) have developed the following guidance for the public and healthcare professionals:
- Information for the public and patients
- Guidance for healthcare professionals
- Poster to display in practices
- NHS England coronavirus advice for clinicians
On 27th Feb 2020 (updated 5th March 2020) NHS England produced standard operating procedures for optical practice (designed to support primary care teams in managing contact with, and presentations of, patients who suspect they may have COVID-19). These are available here https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/coronavirus-standard-operating-procedures-for-primary-care-settings/
On 19th Feb 2020 NHS England issued advice for optical practices, available here https://www.locsu.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-pms-providers/
WHO has produced guidance on when to use a face mask.
The information and guidance are being updated regularly as the situation develops, and we recommend that you remain alert for any updates.