Sheffield Local Optometric Committee

Sheffield LOC meeting 7th April 2014

Sheffield Local Optical Committee
Minutes of the Meeting – Monday 7th April 2014. 7:30 PM
Present: Rob Hughes (RH-Chairman), Deborah Mullens (DM-Secretary), Helen Bailey (HB- Treasurer), Helen Wilkinson (HW), East Patel (EP), Shirley Blundell (SB), Alex Gage (AG), Dee Singh (DS), Gerry Cowley (GC), Azad Nawz (AN), Rob Hobson (RH).
Attendees: Lynda Liddament (LL- CCG),Gil Vasey (GV), Karen Allen (KA), Lawrence Jenkinson (LJ), Karen Williams (KW-Minutes)

1. Ocular Hypertension
RH reported that Irfan Uddin; a recently qualified optician who has just set up a practice in Sheffield has asked the LOC if he could become the sole provider in Sheffield of some NHS, all Glaucoma and hypertensive referrals? This was generally thought to be a bad idea as he will not always be available (due to holidays and illness etc) and his location may not be convenient to some patients.

2. Possible Setting Up of Lists
RH suggested that the LOC set up a list of possible businesses that would be willing to be approached regarding pre-reg placements?
This was thought of as a good idea. RH then said should the LOC also set up a list of locums? This was also thought to be a good idea. However, it would require Locums to register with LOC; the list could be put on the website with a disclaimer regarding the GOC registration of the individuals on the list.

3. Enhanced Services Contract
RH introduced this subject and pointed out the Contract was to be signed and returned last week. LL said that she had nothing to do with the writing of the contract but her job was to help the end user deal with the contract and to sort out any problems that may arise with the contract. Any questions may be sent via email to LL who will pass them to Jo Ward as they are planning to produce a ‘question and answer’ document to help end users of the contract.
LL also explained how the new invoicing/payments system works, and is also looking into how to counteract fraud etc.
AN wanted to know how payment details and other information would be sent out. RH noted that everything is presently done by fax. AH suggested that they make contact via email as this leaves a clearer audit trail.

4. SPA Change of Address
RH checked that everyone got the letter he sent out regarding the SPA change of address.

5. The LOC Company
HB explained where she is with the setting up the LOC Company. She has worked 25% of the way through the policy reviews, and has arranged meetings with the Bank Manager to discuss the financial details and requirements of setting up the company.
HB said that the LOC Company declined to use LOC SU software for payment purposes as this would cost £5.00 per transaction.
HB also explained LL’s role in helping to sort out NHS payments.
GV (who is also an accountant) said there would be no conflict of interest if HB was the treasurer and dealt with the financial side of the LOC Company. He also said that an audit of accounts would not be necessary but that it would be necessary for an accountant to check and present the accounts periodically.
HB asked LL whether money promised to LOC to help set up the company would still be forthcoming? LL is going to look into what the situation is regarding that issue.
HB asked if members of the LOC are happy to loan the new LOC Company £5000.00 (interest free) which is for the initial set up of the bank account.
Members agreed to this proposal.
AG asked who are the directors of the LOC Company?
RH replied, the chairman, secretary and treasurer of the present LOC. Namely, Rob Hughes, Debrorah Mullens and Helen Bailey. Anyone performing services through the LOC would become a member of the LOC Company. The LOC Company is non profit limited company and therefore has no shares.
AG asked will the Sheffield LOC only cover Sheffield or Sheffield and district? RH said Sheffield LOC could cover a bigger area but would need more funding to allow for this. Also there would be issues about the local difference in services provided.

6. Other Questions Raised During the Meeting
AG queried, wasn’t there to be an inbuilt annual increase in fees and the amount paid via PEARS?
LL is going to check with finance on this issue.
RH pointed out that Opticians have no access to patients NHS numbers so it is difficult for them to be included in any paperwork to NHS. LL will try to look into this and see what can be done.

7. The Benefits of becoming a Member of the LOC Company
GV asked if it was necessary for contractors like himself to join LOC and what would be the benefits?
RH explained that GV can deal with CCG as ‘Any Qualified Provider’ without joining the LOC company, but as a member of LOC Co.all contract dealings with CCG are done on a group basis which helps individuals within LOC Co. cut down on paperwork.
LL said that in May the CCG will be sending out contract details and publishing the criteria for being recognized as being ‘Any Qualified Provider’ to the LOC and any other interested parties.
RH said that the LOC Company will be contacting all optical businesses who provide any Enhanced Services in the Sheffield area and informing them that it will be necessary to either join LOC or make their own contractual arrangements with CCG on the basis of being ‘Any Qualified Provider’.
HB pointed out that as a member of the LOC Company there will be a small monthly cost, so an individual practitioner would have to decide, depending on the volume of Enhanced Services that they deal with, whether they are better off setting up arrangements with the CCG alone or through the LOC Company.
RH said that if the LOC Company gets AQP it will be AQP for all enhanced services and it will have one company contract with CCG.
GV expressed worries about the liability issues if a member of LOC Company was involved in any litigation or court case. LL said that various bodies in the NHS will be keen to give help and support to making the new system work.
GV explained some of the pros and cons of Directors’ Liability Insurance.
RH said that the LOC Company will be setting up various safeguards to check that members adhere to certain standards.
LJ said that to comply with the NHS contracts a practitioner will already be keeping to a certain required standard. There was a discussion about the difficulties in checking working practices and it seems that this issue needs further thought and discussion.

8. Performance Safeguards
EP asked if there was any way of flagging up a poor referral?
LL said at the moment, concerning for instance a PEARS report, individuals in the NHS have enough data to flag up an abnormal trend. The CCG has a Clinical Quality Team whose job it is to support efforts like this, Sue Alibone would be a good point of contact within this team and would be happy to offer any help.
SB would like clear guidelines as to how any complaints or concerns would be dealt with. It was decided to look at what systems are in place in other areas.

9. The meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM. The next meeting is the AGM on 20th May 2014.

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