Latest Meeting’s Minutes

The latest meeting’s minutes are below and a pdf version of this and other minutes can be accessed using the links on this page

MINUTES of the Rotherham and Barnsley Local Optometric Committee 

Meeting Date and Start Time: Tuesday 2 July 2019, 6pm 

Meeting Location: Carlton Park Hotel, Rotherham 

Present: Sukhy Bains (SuB), Peter Dand (PD), Dave Brumpton (DB), Sylvia Brumpton (SB)Bhavesh-Dayasharan Patel (BDP), Terry English (TE)Omar Hassan (OH), Aftab Rahim (AR)Sean O’Brien (SO’B) Nizz Sabir (NS), Steve Shaw (SS) and Tony Wing (TW).  

Attendees: Lee Eddell (LE), Jonathan Gore (JG), Lorraine Rodgers (LR), Liz Sooklall (LS), Richard Puttrell (RP)Rosemarie Siwek (RS) and Sarah Faulkner (SF) (Minute Taker) 

Apologies: Tan Hussain (TH) and Robert King (RK)  

Minutes of the Last Meeting: The minutes from the meeting taking place on 11 June 2019 were accepted as a correct record.  

Matters Arising: 

  1. Welcome and Apologies  

OH welcomed everyone to the RBLOC meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance. OH then conducted introductions and apologies and welcomed colleagues from NHS England and PCSE to the meeting. 

  1. Update from Primary Care Team, NHS England and NHS Improvement, North East and Yorkshire  

OH introduced LE and LR from NHS England and thanked LE and LR for attending the meeting. 

LE advised the attendees that she would provide an update on optometry from an NHS England perspective. LE advised the attendees that NHS England has launched a new PPV scheme, which is commissioned via the Business Support Agency (BSA) and the BSA will undertake post payment verification checks going forwards. LE then advised the attendees that notification of corporate optometry director changes has been streamlined and notification of director changes now only needs to be made to where company headquarters are based. LE then advised that the GOS contract was refreshed in 2018 but not circulated. The revised GOS will bring all separate contracts into one contract. This has been rolled out in Bassetlaw and Rotherham will be the next area in which it is rolled out. LE stated that optometrists will hear from NHS England colleagues regarding this soon. LE then updated on access to accounts for optometrists. LE advised that a national business case had been put forward regarding this but was put on hold. LE advised that locally accounts for optometrists are being signed off and the process of getting an account is to complete the IG toolkit, QIO and application form; once complete this needs submitting to NHS England where it will be signed off and the account issued. OH enquired how long it took to have the account authorised. LE stated that most were authorised within a fortnight of submission. LE advised that each optometrist can have an account but they must be linked to a practice so as yet locums cannot have an account. LE then stated that the GOS complaints annual reporting should have been circulated to all contractors on 22 May by the BSA for completion. 

LE then updated on developments in optometry. LE advised that service specifications for optometrists to deliver learning disability services in special schools and services to the homeless are in process. The NAGOS national meeting has been stood down and going forwards there will just be an optical leads meeting to which LOC chairs may be invited. Primary Care Networks (PCNs) went live on 1 July 2019 and all optometrists are being encouraged to link in with their most local PCN. 

OH thanked LE and LR for the update and then conducted a question and answer session: 

Questions from Attendees: 

Q1. Can emails could be accessed on phones. Answer: Yes, there is an app. 

Q2. As part of the GOS PPV does that cover vouchers and examination fees? Answer: Yes, it is recalls and voucher issuing. It covers GOS 1, 3 and 4. 

Q3. Who looks at the referrals? Answer: The clinical lead, Dawn Roberts. 

Q4. Have the previous PPV trials highlighted any issues? Answer: No, but there is a requirement for PPV to take place. There is a national process and it is fair and transparent. 

Q5. We used to receive information on benchmarking on referrals is this still available? Answer: It is received by NHS England and, if allowable, this could be shared with the LOC. 

ACTION: LE to check with NHS England colleagues if benchmarking report can be shared with the LOC. 

Q6. On the PPV visits for records how far back do you go? Answer: There is usually a set date range and this will be included in the information circulated about PPV visits.  

Q7. Can we have a list of cut off dates for the submission of forms? Answer: Yes, Jonathan Gore will provide this. 

ACTION: JG to send list of submission dates for forms to OH for distribution to the LOC. 

Following the question and answer session from the attendees OH then asked questions that had been submitted online prior to the meeting: 

Q1. A lengthy question was asked around varifocals and contractor payments and it was agreed that this question would be emailed to LE for an answer. 

Q2. A question was asked around the process for conducting early recalls. Answer: LE advised that to conduct an early recall permission needed to be sought from NHS England. EGOS will provide a consent number. 

Q3. A question was asked around whether CET claims could be submitted without a contractor. Answer: LE advised no, has to be via a contractor. 

For Q4-9 concerning: GOS sight tests for refractive problems, small prescription changes, diabetic retinopathy, over 70s refraction for stable cataracts and child refraction it was agreed that these questions would be emailed to Dawn Roberts, Clinical Advisor for a written answer. 

ACTION: OH to email Dawn Roberts with questions 4-9 and Dawn Roberts to provide a written answer to the LOC. 

Q10. A question was asked around GOS 4 vouchers and second opinions. Answer: Authorisation for these must be sought from NHS England via our generic email address: Responses are usually sent within 1 working day. 

Q11. A question was asked around submission of claims for people who have stated they are in receipt of benefits but then practices are receiving a rejection for payment from PCSE stating the person is not in receipt of benefits. How should practices seek proof of receipt of benefits? Answer: The optometrist should not have to seek proof. The patient declaration that they are in receipt of benefits is all the optometrist can do. LE stated that if these claims are being rejected by PCSE then this must be flagged with them, as these claims should be processed optometrists can only take patients at their word and should not be penalised for falsified patient declarations. 

Q12. Will the GOS 1 form reflect changes to universal credit? Answer: This will be addressed in transformation. 

Q13. National insurance is no longer a mandatory field is this correct? Answer: Yes, NI is not a mandatory collection.         

  1. Update and Q&A from Primary Care Support England 

OH welcomed Jonathan Gore (JG) from Primary Care Support England (PCSE) who provided the attendees with an overview of the services offered by PCSE.  

JG advised the attendees that he started with PCSE in November 2018 and is the engagement lead for PCSE and the ophthalmic lead. JG acknowledged that 12 months ago services from PCSE were not meeting KPIs. However, PCSE is now hitting all ophthalmic KPIs. JG advised that all claims are now barcoded and tracked, more checks are undertaken to reduce errors and an online form is now available for queries. JG encouraged the attendees to use the online queries form as it provides a reference number from which queries can be tracked.  

JG also advised that there was a CET online form available and again encouraged attendees to use this, as it provides a reference number and makes it easier to track claims through the system. JG stated that 53% of CET claims were done online last year and there is an FAQ available on the PCSE website.  

JG then advised that Transformation (moving from paper to online services) will be happening in 2019. On 12 August early adopters will begin using an online solution and all forms will be submitted online. PCSE are working with Practice Management Software (PMS) providers on eGOS claims and in October 2019 eGOS will start to be used by bigger consortiums such as Boots, Specsavers, Scrivens etc. The online system will give detailed statements, reduce rejections, sense check on things like date of birth etc. However, the system will not check sight test dates. The system will also have provision for customers to provide an online signature. NS enquired if PCSE will pay for practices to install the technology to allow online signatures. JG advised no, practices will need to self-fund but the updates to PMS will facilitate this. JG stated that online signatures can be done with a mouse or with a signature block. JG stated that paper form submissions will always be an option, as it is required for business continuity. It will just be accepted as normal, but the paper forms will be changed in style to become more like passport forms so they can be easily scanned by machines.   

SO’B enquired where PCSE were up to with PMS providers on facilitating transformation. JG advised that they are working closely and well with some PMS providers, but others needed more time. DB enquired if there was a list of the PMS providers that PCSE were working with. JG advised that they are working with 15 PMS providers and if practices needed to know if their PMS provider was working with PCSE then they would need to contact their PMS provider directly. LE stated that if contractors are having issues with their PMS provider then they should contact PCSE. JG assured the attendees that PCSE are working closely with PMS providers to minimise disruption to services and cut off dates and payment dates will stay the same. OH enquired if the systems will phase in by region. JG stated no, it will go live nationally from November 2019. OH then enquired how long CET payments will take on the new online system. JG advised this was unknown as yet.  

JG stated that if anyone had any queries then they could contact PCSE via:    

NS then enquired about interpretation services and who provides these. LE advised that this varies from area to area. LE stated that in SYB there are no services but there is a national project looking at this and there is a scoping exercise currently ongoing. LE encouraged optometrists to speak individually with their CCGs regarding interpreters. 

OH thanked LE, LR and JG for attending the meeting and requested that NHS England colleagues highlight the LOC to new performers so they are aware of its existence and that it is here to support new performers in Rotherham and Barnsley.  

OH stated that it would be helpful to have attendance at these meetings from Dawn Roberts, who would have been able to answer a number of the clinical questions posed. OH stated that he would email Dawn Roberts the outstanding questions and all answers to the questions would be posted on the RBLOC website. 

ACTION: OH to email Dawn Roberts with questions 4-9 from online submission and once response received post answers on RBLOC website. 

  1. Approval of previous meeting minutes and actions update: 

  1. NHS Mail Registration – Support for Practitioners 

OH advised the attendees that NHS England is keen for all optometrists to have email accounts and so OH will produce a brief “how to” guide to assist people in obtaining these. TW enquired whether it was worth scoping with practices as to who already had an account. NS stated that it was good practice for each practice to have generic account as these could then be used by locums as well. 

ACTION: OH to develop brief “how to” guide for obtaining an email account. 

  1. Barnsley Referral Processes  

OH invited BDP to provide an update on the Barnsley referral process following his review of the current guidance on the LOC website. BDP advised that on review the website and referral process needed some more information, including the phone number for the Barnsley Hospital Triage Nurse. This has now been updated. BDP advised the attendees that the process for urgent referrals to Barnsley Hospital is to call the triage nurse. For routine referrals these need to be done in the usual manner, the number must not be used for routine enquiries or referrals.  

  1. Video Broadcast of LOC Meetings – Survey Results 

OH advised the attendees that he had conducted a survey at the Low Vision CET event about video broadcast of the LOC meetings. The survey had 88 responses and only 11 stated that this is not something they would be interested in. OH suggested having a trial run of video broadcasting at a future meeting. TW enquired if any other LOCs did it and whether this was something we could share learning on. OH advised that, as far as he was aware, no other LOCs did video broadcasts. SuB suggested that we establish a date for when the video broadcast will take place, try it and decide on some success measures.  

  1. Rotherham MECS Rollout Briefing 

NS updated the attendees on the Rotherham MECs rollout. NS advised that the launch event went ok but that there were a number of IT issues that complicated the event. NS thanked the LOC for funding the launch. NS stated that the service went live on 1 July and is very much in its infancy due to the quick rollout. If any practitioners have any issues then NS encouraged them to get in touch with him. RP enquired if the patient questionnaire was an essential item that must be completed. NS advised yes. It is one of the essential KPIs for the service and should be completed. BDP enquired about treating children via MECs. OH recommended that children are seen and then the attendees discussed management of children.  

OH commented to NS that during the MECs launch a lot of information was imparted and some of the attendees seemed overwhelmed. OH enquired if a MECs toolkit/guide would be useful for those who were unable to attend the launch or found there was too much to take in on the day. NS stated that this would be helpful and advised that anyone who attended the launch will receive copies of the presentation and a quick guide welcome. The committee noted that this would be helpful but that a MECs toolkit/guide would be more useful. It was agreed that NS, OH and BDP would work together to produce a guide and NS would send the quick guide to OH to facilitate this. 

ACTION: OH, NS and BDP to develop a MECs toolkit/guide and NS to send quick guide to OH to facilitate development of the toolkit/guide. 

The committee then discussed an issue with follow ups within MECs contract. NS stated that MECs is focussed on the management of conditions and this is what optometrists should focus on. OH encouraged attendees to send any questions or concerns about MECs to NS. NS asked attendees to please ensure that patient records are completed as clearly and completely as possible.   

  1. Expenses Claim Process 

TW advised the attendees that the LOC is trying to develop a claim process. TW advised that the suggestion for meeting attendance was that all attendees should register with Eventbrite and then they would be checked in at the meeting and payment made accordingly. OH enquired if anyone had any issues or concerns with this process. SO’B enquired if there was a way to cancel on Eventbrite if people were unable to attend. TW advised yes. A few concerns were raised about people not receiving payment if they did not register on Eventbrite but it was reiterated that there would be a check in process at each meeting and if people had not managed to register then they would still be checked in, though the preference would be for everyone to register via Eventbrite rather than just attend without doing so. OH advised that registering on Eventbrite is an important curtesy and helped with accurate planning of numbers for the meeting. It was agreed that the meeting booking process would be put on the website. 

ACTION: OH/TW to add meeting booking process to the website. 

TW then went on to enquire how the committee can formalise what can and what cannot be claimed. OH stated that an agreement also needed to be made on mileage claims. In terms of the amount to be claimed per meeting it was agreed that the flat rate was £50 per hour. The committee then discussed meeting length and whether a flat rate should be received per meeting or if the rate should vary based on the length of the meeting. Most attendees agreed that the meetings should not exceed 2 hours and preferably should take 1.5 hours. The attendees debated start and finish times for the meetings and whether or not food should be included. TW stated that it was important to focus on what is appropriate use of committee funds. It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in Barnsley but start times are to be determined and inclusion of food determined via a debate on the WhatsApp group.  

Claims for additional activities undertaken on behalf of the LOC were also debated. The committee were informed that in Shropshire each member of the LOC who led on a project area received an honorarium and then could also claim half day/day rates for additional work. It was agreed that this topic required more consideration and OH, SS, TW and TE as Chair, Vice-ChairSecretary and Treasurer would discuss outside of the meeting. 

ACTION: OH, SS, TW and TE to discuss and agree payment process for work conducted by committee members on project areas and agree how these would be funded going forwards. 

  1. CET Event at Thornbury Hospital – 4th July 

OH advised the attendees that there was a booking link to the CET event at Thornbury on the website. 

  1. Low Vision CET Event – Reflections and Learning 

The committee briefly discussed the recently held Low Vision CET event. OH expressed overwhelming gratitude to SuB for all the work that went into arranging the CET and attendees discussed the success of the event. OH advised that the feedback received on the event has been really positive, particularly around the CET points and the location of the event. 

The attendees then briefly discussed how many more CET events should be held this year and whether a charge should be made for attendance of these for practitioners who were from outside of Rotherham and Barnsley. It was agreed that there would two events: one in September and one in November and there would be no charge.    

  1. Any Other Business (AOB) (All) 

Primary Care Networks (PCNS): NS highlighted to attendees the importance of Primary Care Networks. NS advised that as part of the GP Forward View practices have had to come together in networks. NS, from a LOCSU perspective, encouraged all optometrists to engage with PCNs. NS advised that, once received, he would share details of the PCNs across Rotherham and Barnsley and then the committee can discuss how best to engage with PCNs. 

Meeting Closed: 20:40 

Date, Time and Location of Next MeetingTuesday 10 September 20196.00pm, Ibis Hotel Barnsley.