New OFNC Chair confirms course for the coming year.
The incoming Chair of the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee, Gordon Ilett, has thanked outgoing Chair Paul Carroll for the leadership he has provided throughout the COVID-19 crisis. He confirmed that the OFNC’s top priorities for the coming year would continue to be supporting the optical sector through the pandemic, and pressing for a fairer level of GOS sight test fee and grants.
Paul Carroll said: “As always, OFNC is a collective effort of very able people and it has been a privilege to lead the team. This has been the year where, backed by the tremendous effort and support of the whole sector, we have been able to demonstrate our vital importance to the nation’s eye health. I wish Gordon every success in his role as Chair and helping us secure fairer funding for the essential public health service we provide.”
Gordon Ilett said: “Like Paul I have worked at the sharp end owning my own optical practice for over 30 years. I know how challenging the last year has been for everyone in the sector. GOS contractors throughout England have worked incredibly hard to keep providing care to their patients, even in the early stages of the pandemic when remote care was key in the absence of PPE. Even now some practices are still facing financial challenges because of the restrictions introduced at the start of 2021, and we will keep making the case for additional targeted support where necessary. We encourage GOS contractors to keep us informed of the challenges they are facing.”
“It is also a top priority for the OFNC to keep pushing for a proper increase to the GOS sight test fee, which has been so badly eroded by rising costs and inflation in recent years. The 1.9% increase that has recently been announced for 2021/22 is a start, but much more is needed. Maintaining patient services and achieving fairer, evidence-based, fees will remain our focus as, once again, the NHS reorganises around us.”