Sheffield Local Optometric Committee

Sheffield LOC meeting Tuesday 1st March

SLOC Minutes of the Meeting

Held: Tuesday 1st March 2011

Present: Phil Banton (PB), Shirley Blundell (SB), Helen Bailey (HB), Rob Hughes (RH) (Chair), Tanveer Hussain (TH), (Chair), Habib Shah (HS),

Guest: Steven Haigh (SH), Richard Oliver (RO),

Attendees: Louise Lambert (LL) (Minutes)

Apologies: Gerry Cowley (GC), Alex Gage (AG), David Inman (DI), Alastair Mews (AM), Azad Nawaz (AN), Sue Wilford (SW). Helen Wilkinson (HW)

Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the last meeting held on Monday 17th January 2011 were accepted as a correct record. Proposed by RH and seconded by HS

Matters Arising

1. Referral Information Service (RIS)

The group enquired whether an alternative service had been identified replace RIS. SH responded that the position was still to be clarified. He gave a brief overview of why RIS came into existence and the reasoning behind the decision to cease the service. As of the 1st April 2011, RIS will be decommissioned. The necessity for PEARS to continue, in-line with the next generation RIS was highlighted by 40% of referrals being dealt with by PEARS. The new provider, from the 1st April, for the next generation RIS will be Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH)

Consideration was given to directly referring certain conditions; cataracts, suspect glaucoma from GRR / CATS service and diabetic retinopathy were identified as suitable conditions for direct referral

If optometrists do not have the facilities to participate in the Contact Applanation Tonometry Service (CATS) optometrist should refer on a GOS18 for triage.

If a community optometrist feels that a diabetic patient should be referred, it was suggest that the referral be sent directly to Secondary care. STH to be informed of direct referring and SH to investigate whether it should be sent directly to ophthalmology or the screening programme
Action: SH to investigate

The group discussed the finer details of the referring process including reviewing the new GOS18/notification form in particular highlighting the intraocular pressure (IOP) box. If referrals had missing patient information the group confirmed that referring community optometrists would receive incomplete forms back, unless a valid reason was known. The group considered the return of the incomplete referrals would not impede timescales, concluding that the system being put in place needed to be robust enough to deal with increase in capacity and have the ability to follow up on patients.


The PEARS/ MAS proposal was discussed which requires clarification with Peter Magirr. The conversation evolved into an in-depth discussion about prescribing medication preference against cost. .

The group discussed the previously proposed practice visits by DI. A pilot of 6 practices to receive visits has been proposed and the six practices have been identified. The visits aim to improve awareness of optometry schemes in Sheffield and increase their effectiveness. The group will review the situation and ascertain if the practice visits are cost-effective.
Action: Group to monitor pilot practice visits.

RO recognised the excellent service being provided to the community by PEARS optometrists and as such the success of the scheme should be publicised. The group debated wording on any article as they wanted to promote the scheme but avoid implying superiority of PEARS optometrists
Action: RO to consider and liaise with communication.

The group discussed disclosure of patient records from GP practices, and whether it was necessary to see full patient history. The group concluded that optometrist would take an individual view on relevant information and securely dispose of information not required.

3. Contact Applanation Tonometry Service (CATS)

The number of referrals being received by PEARS and Secondary care has reduced since the implementation of CATS. Currently 69 patients have been seen under the scheme with zero referrals to secondary care
The group commented that the new web based CATS reporting is working well the group felt that the same principals could be applied to PEARS and GRR, thereby services will be more effective, quicker and cheaper
Action: PB to review

SB highlighted a concern that her practice manager would not allow generic access to the port site. The group explained that the details SB practice manager held are intended for practice access not individual.
Action: SB to address directly

The group discussed the benefits, to both GP’s and optometrists for GP practices to have generic email accounts.
Action: RO to investigate relevant documentation and Generic email accounts.

4. Low Vision

The group concluded previous meetings discussions to devise a business plan, utilising the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB) service and highlighting potential savings and potentially a greater service for patients. It was suggested to pilot a scheme with 3 to 5 practices, to ensure the scheme was achievable. The group consider that 3 or 4 community optometrists, providing the service a across the city was a low number.
Action: PB to provide RO with the cost of a kit

5. Transition details

SH shared with SLOC the recent changes within the commissioning structure, the future of Sheffield PCT. He gave an overview of the transition between the PCT phasing out and disbanding by March 2013 and GP Commissioning (GPC) taking responsibility prior to 2013, the transfer may be before 2013.

All Primary Care Dashboards will be commissioned. The responsibility will be given to the consortia, and whilst nothing has currently been confirmed it was thought Sheffield consortia’s would be grouped into one larger group consisting of 3 consortia and a smaller one, consisting of 1 consortia.

Currently there is a state of flux and the functions of responsibilities are still being considered but it is hoped that there will be executive level function clarification by June 2011

During the changing transitional state, PCTs within regions are forming clusters to take into account the capacity gap left by employees leaving the organisation. Sheffield PT executive team and board will delegate statuary responsibility to a single South Yorkshire Cluster.

SH went onto explain how as the GP Commission Consortia (GPCC) would commission services either from the public and private sector, whomever they felt appropriate. He further explained that Sheffield PCT needed to reduce running cost in total by 5 million pounds, 722 will start to disband from June and certain functions will transfer. Joint City working will see Public health functions will transferring to the local health authority others functions will transfer to Care Trust, Children’s and STH, others within the community via referral routes.

Although people are feeling vulnerable the key message is “business as usual”. As a provider, in line with the Governance framework from 2013 optometrist will require accreditation.

SLOC need to develop and maintain working relationship with GPCC. Continue supporting optometrists and developing excellent working practices for the communities benefit.

It was suggested that LOC will be recognised in the “new world”. It was proposed to include transition discussion update in future meetings.
Action: Progress working relationships
Action: Include transition update within future meeting agendas


No correspondence was received

SH and RO left the meeting at 21:10hrs

Any other business

The group discussed the future of the profession, “in the new world”

The group considered the need for a professional body to assist optometrists, within the changing future as difficulties will be hard to address on a local level.

The group considered the capacity of PEARS optometrist and the potential increase in future demand, the need for more accredited PEARS optometrist within the service.

The group discussed certain information governance queries including access to NHS mail and the CAT’s password being issued to the practice.

Action: HB to email TH regarding booklet and slip lamp

Date of next meeting

Monday 11th April 2011 at 19:30hrs, Beauchief Hotel, Abbeydale Road

Meeting Closed: 21:40hrs

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