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Important message for all practices

Due to the COVID pandemic and additional winter pressures Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has been forced to escalate their status to level OPEL4. This is where pressure prevents health organisations from delivering comprehensive care and where they have to take decisive action including getting external support where available. The pressure has especially affected the A&E Department where the number of people presenting has at times overwhelmed the department. In response to this, Consultant Ophthalmologist Mr Atul Varma has asked for help from local Optometrists as well as GP's and walk in centres.

The key points you should be aware of are:
Normal Working Hours
During the normal working day ie 8am to 5pm (Monday to Friday) and 8am to 4pm (Saturday) practices should send emergency referrals, as normal, to the Acute Clinic email address (myh-tr.ophthalmologyacutemyht@nhs.net) where arrangements will be made to see the patient at the Eye Centre. You should avoid sending patients to the A&E department. If you have a particular concern then speak to the Acute Clinic on-call duty doctor first for advice on 01924 541 196.

Out Of Hours
For out of hours referrals, (or if you have a serious concern) you should telephone the hospital switchboard (01924 541 000) and ask to speak to the on-call doctor for Ophthalmology or Consultant. This way you will be able to obtain advice about the urgency of the referral and what to do. If the Eye Department know about the patient and have agreed to see them then they will be seen in the Eye Centre if it's during the day and in the SDEC (Same Day Emergency Care Centre) if it's out of hours. This ensures that patients won't have to wait in the A&E department and will reduce pressure on them.

The only patients who should be sent to A&E out of hours should be those who need to be seen within hours and would suffer significant harm if not seen. This would include such conditions as acute angle closure glaucoma, chemical injury or perforating injury etc.

As patients presenting with a retinal tear will not be able to have a laser repair done out of hours they should be referred to the Acute Clinic via email where it will be picked up and done first thing in the morning. If you have any doubts or concerns about this then speak to the on-call team as above.

With help from everyone they will still be able to provide patients with the best possible care in a safe environment.

16th December 2021

New Community Healthcare Guide
At a recent meeting between Wakefield LOC and local ophthalmology provider Community Health, it was felt that optometry practices would benefit from additional information on the services they provide. As a consequence, Community Health have issued a new comprehensive guide covering the range of eye conditions that they will see and the procedures they can offer. The guide also details the referral pathways available and the local locations they operate from.
Copies of the new guide can be downloaded from the Community Health & Eyecare section of this websites Provider Information section or by clicking here.  23rd April 2021

Local Optometrist awarded MBE in New Year Honours

Ruth with a patient

Local Optometrist Ruth Perrott has been recognised in the 2021 New Year Honours list and has been awarded the MBE. Ruth, who has practices in York and Castleford was named in the Overseas and International List for her services to people living with sight impairment in Africa. Her first seven trips to Africa were with Vision Aid Overseas but decided to continue the spectacles service alone when VAO stopped the direct service clinics and went on to make 16 trips in total to various parts of the continent.

Speaking about the award, Ruth said "It feels an honour and a privilege to have this work recognised. Demand is high and job satisfaction drives me on. Many thousands of people have had their quality of life restored and can continue to work and support a family thanks to their new spectacles". Spectacle recycling continues to this day. With the valuable assistance of Rotary York Ainsty every pair is washed, serviced, focimetered, and labelled and Ruth has been able to support clinics in Kenya, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Fiji Islands where there is sufficient expertise to handle the distribution.

Optometry Fees Increased from April 1st
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that it will increase GOS sight test fees by 1.9% from April 2021. The GOS CET allowances and pre-registration supervision grants will also rise by the same percentage. The fees for GOS sight tests in England were last increased in April 2015 by 1% and since then, optometry have endured five consecutive years with no fee increase, despite costs having continued to rise.

In response, Paul Carroll, OFNC Chair, said: “The 1.9% increase, welcome though it is, does not fully address the erosion of GOS fees by inflation in recent years.” “After 5 years without any increase to reflect the rising costs of care, a 1.9% increase in GOS fees now will understandably disappoint a loyal and hard-working sector, which has gone the extra mile in keeping eye care services running over the past year when hospital care was often just not available. Nevertheless, we take it as a signal that the Government and NHS England have at last understood the value of primary eye care and the need to move towards fairer treatment of GOS contractors in the future.” “We hope this is the first small step on a journey to a properly funded national sight-testing infrastructure to help meet growing eye health need, focus on prevention and deliver more care outside hospital closer to home.”  1st April 2021

New Covid Advice Now Available
As of 22nd December 2021 new guidance has been issued for people working within the NHS including those working in an optometry setting. It is for those who are identified as having had a contact with someone who has tested positive. This differs from the guidance that applies to the general public.

Please click the link below to view or download the document and ensure that all staff have read and understood it. Further guidance will hopefully appear in the FAQ section of this website shortly

The full document can be accessed by clicking here.
 22nd Dec 2021