Sheffield Local Optometric Committee

Secretary’s Report Year Ending 31 March 2006

As most of you will know I have only taken on the responsibility of the secretary’s position from the start of the year. Our thanks and appreciation go to Gerry Cowley for dedicating to the LOC the time and effort that is required for the secretary’s role over the last three years, and for the sterling work that he has done.

With the long awaited GOS review finally underway, optometry may at last be given the opportunity to prove itself capable of providing a first rate and cost effective eye care service within the community, and individual optometrists hopefully will be able to fulfil their professional aspirations if they so wish.

The LOC’s position within this new framework will be vital to establishing local service agreements that are balanced and fair and to the benefit of our patients, but at the same time ensuring the value of professional optometric input is recognised and rewarded appropriately.

This new chapter in the history of optometry will no doubt require further and continued dedication of all LOC members.

In the meantime SLOC (Sheffield Local Optical Committee) over the last year have continued to

Sheffield’s four PCT’s will soon become one and this single PCT will have a responsibility to commission services that meet with clinical expectations. These services must also be cost effective; they must be both convenient to, and valued by, patients. A lot of this years SLOC work now needs wrapping up and presenting to the PCT in such a way that it can not be ignored.

We need to develop clear and well defined service pathways, with clear and calculated costs. We need to measure and ensure that we have the support of our colleagues in the community.
We need to present these plans to the PCT’s professionally and confidently (through the ophthalmology joint planning group) in such a way that they can not be ignored. We need to maintain pressure on the PCT to recognise the value of community optometrists and dispensing opticians in their commissioning of a patient led NHS.

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