Information for Commissioners

Northumbria, Tyne and Wear Local Optical Committee is the organisation representing optometrists and dispensing opticians across the region.  It liaises with the  NHS on matters relating to eye care.


Mission Statement

To represent, support and communicate with local eye health professionals (Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians) to ensure, as gatekeepers of eye care, the effective delivery of Ophthalmic Services across the whole of Northumbria, Tyne and Wear.


Organisational Aims of the Local Optical Committee

  • To work with NHS Commissioners, Health and Wellbeing Boards and other providers to deliver integrated local eye care services focused on patients and outcomes at best value.
  • To advise Commissioners on the scope and efficiency of eye care service locally.
  • To assist in designing, piloting and commissioning local, community based services. 
  • To work with Optical Practices and across the health system to improve eye health outcomes and reduce inequalities in the provision of care.
  • To work with partners to deliver eye care services which meet local need.
  • To work with Registered Eye Care Providers to recruit, retain and develop the current and future workforce.
  • To advise the NHS on matters affecting Optometrists providing General Ophthalmic Services.
  • To enable Registered Eye Care Providers in the area to formulate collective views and develop ideas for improvement and better ways of working.
  • To provide a range of educational events for local Registered Eye Care Providers, ensuring opportunities for peer support and developing relationships with secondary care ophthalmologists.

NTW LOC is one of number of LOCs working together across the North of England to form  Primary Eyecare North (PECN), a non-for profit Limited Company. PECN is one of number of Primary Eyecare companies across England committed to providing the highest standard of NHS care to patients, while passing the majority of the funds payed but CCG's, for the services to the sub-contracted optical practices. 

This work is supported by LOCSU (Local Optical Committee Support Unit).

Through this company we can bid and provide primary care extended ophthalmic services commissioned by either CCGs or secondary care. This model allows ALL interested Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians within the commissioned service area to have an equal opportunity to become accredited and offer the services at their practices. This helps maintain both local patient choice and a highly skilled workforce across the whole region.


The College of Optometry website page 'Information for Commissioners' contains useful guides covering the commissioning of various services. 


It is important to remember that the GOS only pays for a ‘sight test’, and only if it is clinically necessary. 

A 'sight test' is defined as ‘determining whether there is any and, if so, what defect of sight and of correcting, remedying or relieving any such defect of an anatomical or physiological nature by means of an optical appliance prescribed on the basis of the determination’ 

Therefore, if the patient attends an Optometrist's practice with an eye problem but does not require a 'sight test' this is not covered by the GOS. The patient would need to be seen privately or referred. This referral could be either to secondary care or into a local, community based scheme.