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Emma James

OutsideClinic supports Afghan nationals

OutsideClinic provided critical eye care services to Afghan nationals, who arrived in the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme, at the Larkhall Garrison Medical Centre.

The initiative, organised by the NHS and Ministry of Defence, was part of multi-agency efforts to support over 200 individuals and their families who stood alongside UK forces in Afghanistan.

Optometrist Kajal Parmar and optical development lead Emma James and the rest of their team helped provide eye care for seven patients, including one child, two young adults and four adults.

‘The day was fantastic, it was great to be able to see patients that we don’t typically see at OutsideClinic and to be able to help people as they start their UK journey,’ said James.

GOC suspends Glenrothes optometrist Glenrothes-based optometrist Kirsty Watson has been suspended for three months by the GOC after her fitness to practise was impaired by reason of misconduct.

In October 2019, Watson failed to perform a dilated eye examination on a patient, detect signs of choroidal melanoma, identify the patient’s choroidal naevus and refer her for urgent investigation.

She also failed to maintain an adequate standard of record keeping or to urgently refer the same patient to the hospital eye service after a second examination in November 2020.

The committee determined that the collective failings of the registrant placed a patient at risk of

significant harm, amounting to misconduct and impairment on public interest grounds.

OFNC discusses eye care with minister Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, minister for public health, start for life and primary care, met with the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) to discuss eye care.

The Conservative MP said: ‘I was delighted to meet with the OFNC to discuss the essential role played by NHS sight testing in the prevention of avoidable sight loss, the current challenges facing eye care services and how an expanded role for the primary eye care workforce could help alleviate ophthalmology pressures.’

Among the issues raised were: the need for sustainable funding for general ophthalmic services (GOS), the need for integrated IT connectivity across eye care in England, and the potential benefits of a new national Mecs/Cues

LET TERS Pick of the posts Proposal presumptions Upon reading the delight of our various representative bodies regarding an enhanced NHS role for optometrists following the potential election of a Labour government later this year (In Focus, Optician 02/02/2024), one may say ‘be careful what you wish for’.

Those of us who are more experienced and with longer memories will recall the last time a wouldbe Labour Prime Minister offered the profession a seemingly better deal than the GOS contract under the then ruling Conser vative government.

In 1996/97 Ian Hunter, the General Secretar y (CEO) of the AOP (Association of Optical Practitioners now Association of Optometrists), had agreed with Tony Blair (if Mr Blair were to win

the 1997 general election) to restore the universal, free at point of access, GOS sight test to all with appropriate fee uplift and an element of enhanced ser vice.

When Tony Blair became Prime Minister, his health minister re-introduced GOS sight tests for all aged 60 plus, while retaining those categories of patients already entitled to the GOS sight test, but without any fee uplift or additional ser vice enhancement.

This significantly reduced practice income from the higher private sight test fees that were being charged to the 60 years plus group under the previous government.

There was a feeling of disappointment and betrayal. Spectacle prices had to be increased to cover the shor tfall.

Our representative bodies should tread ver y carefully and perhaps not be presumptuous in celebrating what is just a proposal. Jim Osborne Evesham

4 OPTICIAN 16 Februar y 2024