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Eye care under national lockdown

PM Encourages the Public to keep using NHS for health checks and scans despite 2nd Lockdown
I line with the PM’s advice to make use of the NHS during the next Covid Lockdown that GOC has published the following statement.
 Following the Government’s announcement on 31 October 2020, new national restrictions will come into effect in England on Thursday 5 November.
The Government has produced some initial guidance on the national restrictions for England which registrants are encouraged to read.
It is our understanding that optical practices will be able to remain open in England as they would fall under the exemption of delivering NHS/medical services. A full list of non-essential businesses that must close and those that have exemptions will be published shortly by the Government and a debate on these restrictions will happen on Wednesday 4 November.
The College of Optometrists is currently recommending that all practices remain open to provide services and continue to follow their amber guidance during this period. 
Our COVID-19 statements still remain in effect to support delivery of care and further advice can also be sought from the professional associations:
 

FODO and ABDO have both concurred
FODO: Primary eye care remains an essential service and Opticians premises (classified as essential retail) will be able to meet the nation’s eye health needs throughout the November lockdown. Members should continue to follow the College of Optometrists Covid-19 guidance and use our Covid-19 resource hub for support and advice on working in a Covid-secure way.
ABDO: In relation to discussions taking place throughout the UK on the provision of eye health care in the event of local or national lockdown, it is the Association of British Dispensing Opticians’ (ABDO) intention to maintain delivery of all eye health care.
ABDO adds that they understand the risk regarding reduced patient footfall due to further lockdowns and we will be liaising with all governments and representative bodies to look at options in relation to support for practices going forward.

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Temporary approval to suspend the need for signatures on ophthalmic forms 

 
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has approved a temporary measure in England to help limit the transmission of coronavirus by suspending the need for patients to sign GOS forms for five months to 31 March 2021. 
 
GOS contractors will have to complete the relevant GOS form(s) on behalf of the patient. Patients should be asked to confirm their eligibility and for that to be marked on the relevant form.

Practices should continue to ask patients to produce evidence of entitlement and should mark the form ‘evidence not seen’ if a patient does not produce this. Where patients should sign forms, contractors are asked to annotate the form with ‘COVID-19’. Signatures from contractors/performers are still required on all forms

 
 
 
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