Sheffield Local Optometric Committee

Sheffield LOC Meeting Monday 17th Janauary 2011

Sheffield Local Optical Committee

SLOC Minutes of the Meeting

Held: Monday 17th January 2011

Present: Phil Banton (PB), Rob Hughes (RH) (Chair), David Inman (DI), Deborah Mullens (DM), Azad Nawaz (AN), Habib Shah (HS), Sue Wilford (SW), Helen Wilkinson (HW)

Guest: Steven Haigh (SH)

Attendees: Louise Lambert (LL) (Minutes)

Apologies: Shirley Blundell (SB), Gerry Cowley (GC), Helen Bailey (HB), Alex Gage (AG), Tanveer Hussain (TH), Alastair Mews (AM), Richard Oliver (RO),

Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the last meeting held on Tuesday 7th December 2010 were accepted, after minor corrections. Proposed by RH and seconded by HW

Matters Arising

1. Referral Information Service (RIS)

The group discussed missing patient information on referrals, particularly highlighting the difficulty in obtaining the patients NHS number.

The group considered how to encourage optometrists to complete referral forms fully, providing all the required information. The LOC has already written to all performers identifying areas which are commonly missed and a new GOS18 has been produced to encourage improved referrals.
Another proactive approach would be to utilise the RIS’s reporting system and have, initially, a monthly league table sent to optometrists highlighting poor performance, developing to a quarterly basis. Another considered option was for RIS to inform optometrists of missing data and to hold incomplete referrals for no longer than 24 hours, concerns were raised regarding critical cases and the group concluded that critical cases would not be processed via RIS.
Action: SH to notify and feedback proposed new working practices to RIS
The group would like to know the current patient referral numbers
Action: SH to provide figure

Concerns were raised that on occasion referrals were not being sent to the intended PEARS optometrist. The group was assured that RIS would normally receive an error message if the referral was not received. The group anticipated that if incidents escalate into regular occurrence then PEARS optometrist will have to receipt fax RIS.
Action: To continue to monitor the situation
The group enquired about the future of RIS, acknowledging the importance and discussing how the PEARS scheme utilises the RIS. SH responded that although no firm decision had been made, it was thought that something would replace the RIS. Ian Atkinson, Interim Chief Executive for Sheffield PCT, is keen to sustain the RIS function. SH went onto say that it was hoped that answer would be available before February.
Action: SH to feedback regarding the future of the referral function.

SH commented that referrals into secondary care have declined since the introduction of both the GRR and PEARS scheme

The LOC would be interested to know what the referrals figures were and what they currently are. Understanding how optometrists are making a difference Action: Put in a FOI request, with the PCT to obtain figures.


It became apparent in the 10 days over the Christmas and New Year that relatively few optometrists were working. RIS had concerns that PEARS referral faxes would not be picked up automatically and delayed. During the Christmas period RH re-triaged all the referrals that went through the RIS to highlight any urgent cases for secondary care. PEARS optometrists should notify the RIS when not available. The group concluded that a diary plan produced on a monthly basis could be provided to RIS indicating when PEARS optometrists are/not available.
Action: PB to contact PEARS optometrists

Various options to convey information was discussed including suggestions to send a letter to PEARS optometrists drawing their attention to their contractual requirements and emphasising recent changes to working practices. It was also suggested to arrange a meeting/training session with all PEARS optometrists. The group concluded that the best approach would be to organise visits to PEARS optometrists.

The group discussed the benefits and the proposed aspects of the visit to all optometrists including PEARS optometrists. It was agreed these visits would be separate to the contractual visits and be carried out by DI. It was thought that a productive 20 minutes would allow DI to review working practices. When an information pack is compiled DI will start visiting all optometrists.

The electronic forms for GOS and CATS need updating on the website.
Action: AN to forward to PB

The group reflected on the December drop in session which was poorly attended.

3. Contact Applanation Tonometry Service (CATS)

Online reporting was well received. The authorisation link requires email and password verification. The group considered the benefit of electronic reporting to other schemes and it was considered that the GRR scheme would be the next.

There was a delay in sending out the CATS letters to non AWP registered optometrists. Linda decided to deal with the AWP registered practice’s first. The group discussed an individual practitioner who is not AWP registered but would like to participate in CATS.
Action: RH to liaise with practitioner

Action: HB to feedback to the group progress regarding the purchase of CATS equipment.

PB will be sending out the training CD’s this week. PB will pass a copy to SW to allow comparisons with the College of Optometrists glaucoma CET.
Action: PB to send SW a training CD.

DI requested clarification from the discussion at the last meeting, 7th December 2010 regarding stable glaucoma monitoring scheme. He stated that he had become aware of several glaucoma management schemes running with varying opinions regarding the necessary accreditation and diplomas.

He further explained that some schemes consider Ocular hypertension (OHT) as a risk factor not a condition. Others optometrists from varying regions appear to have got past the accreditation query with differing Glaucoma management.

The group discussed glaucoma management and the necessity to adhere to the NICE guidelines and supervision from ophthalmology.

Action: DI to further pursue investigation and feedback to group

SH had written to Julie Ward stating that community glaucoma monitoring was not being pursued. SH enquired if patients were still being discharged to the community.
Action: Optometrists to monitor the community discharge.

4. Low Vision

RH reported that the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB) would be interested in working formally with LOC and the PCT.

LOC requested that the PCT look into developing a formal arrangement with the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind.
Action: SH to asked AM to investigate.


No correspondence

SH left the meeting at 20:30hrs

Any other business

DI informed the group, that during his practice visits he has been advising optometrists of the refrigeration requirements for certain medications including chloramphenicol. In April 2011 the refrigeration criteria will be mandatory.

DI enquired about the LOC positions regarding the information governance (IG) toolkit. The IG toolkit is not a mandatory requirement and the LOC position is that it is not part of the contractual arrangement. The LOC would discourage individuals providing the information without adequate remuneration.

AN sought guidance regarding the waste management risk assessment.
Action: AN to send DI copy of form.

The group discussed the changing face of the NHS. It was proposed to establish joint working relationships with the GP consortia. The group felt a meeting would be useful.
Action RB to email contact details of consortia to PB

The group questioned how the LPC and the LDC have dealt with introductions to the GP consortia.
Action: PB to enquire

PB reported that the LOC cross working relationship with pharmacy is continuing and almost complete, as discussed at the previous meeting held on Tuesday 21st September 2010.

HS expressed an interest in becoming a triaging optometrists. The 10 current triaging optometrists are considered to be a suitable number with the current level of activity

SW informed the group that she was attending the College regional meeting, one of the topics being discussed is Glaucoma.
Action: SW to feedback to group

Date of next meeting

Tuesday 1st March 2011 at 19:30hrs, Beauchief Hotel, Abbeydale Road

Apologies received from HW

Meeting Closed: 20:50hrs

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