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OFNC welcomes new policies on optometrist performer listing in England

OFNC welcomes new policies on optometrist performer listing in England


NHS England and Improvement has developed a new policy for managing performer list applications for GPs, dentists, optometrists and OMPs in England, which came into effect on 11 February 2022.  Other aspects of the performers list policy remain as previously within the Framework for Managing Performer Concerns, which was reissued on the same date.

The new policies are based on the National Health Service (Performers Lists) (England) Regulations 2013 which remain unchanged.

The aim of the new policy is to bring all contractor professions into a common streamlined system which reduces bureaucracy, eliminates duplicate checks and reduces barriers and delays to performer listing – all goals which the eye care sector shares.

As a result, optometrist and OMP performer list applicants no longer have to provide evidence of having

  • signed up to the DBS update service
  • completed safeguarding training for working with adults and children
  • the right to work in the UK
  • (for returners) provided GOS in the past 2 years in England.

A key change is that applicants requiring initial educational or clinical support to work safely in UK primary eye care will no longer have conditions applied (which remain on the record for the performer’s professional lifetime).  Instead, conditions will be replaced by temporary ‘agreement terms’ (which will usually involve an Education/Clinical Support Plan (ECSP)) and the practitioner’s admission to the list being flagged as ‘probationary’.

NHS England has confirmed that these new arrangements are intended for exceptional cases e.g.  international applicants who have practised under different systems or returners who have been out of UK clinical practice for a significant time.  In most cases new UK graduates will not be flagged as probationary.

A further benefit of the new approach is that ‘agreement terms’ and ESCPs are appealable to the First Tier NHS Tribunal which was not the case with ‘voluntary agreements’ in the past where applicants had no right of challenge or redress.

Following a meeting to clarify these points for optometrists, OMPs and employers on 25 February, Gordon Ilett, OFNC Chair said: “Following clarity and reassurances about these points from NHS England, we are happy to commend these changes to the profession”.

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