Optometry Scotland’s Response to PCA(O)2021(7)

4th March 2021

Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are keeping well and rested when possible, during this busy time for optometry practices during the remobilisation phase of the pandemic.  We wanted to update you on discussions around the most recent SGHD circular PCA(O)2021(07) released on 4th March 2021.

Overall, practices remain busy with pent-up demand and this can be seen from the recent SG data advising that on average across the sector we are operating at 96% of 2019 activity. The relaxing of care home visiting has had a significant increase on mobile providers, and they are now functioning on a par with practice premises.  This is a major turn-around as this group had significant restrictions on their ability to practice only a few months ago.

Activity levels are based on the total number of people attending for appointments in Scotland, positively showing that patients are returning for eye examinations again.  The recent PCA(O)2021(07) outlines the proposed transition from financial support based on this most recent data.

Current proposals are data-driven and Scottish Government colleagues have been monitoring activity levels monthly.  Based on the statistics, they are confident that the majority of practices will be able to keep pace with these thresholds set out in PCA(O)2021(07).  The ongoing support has shown the Scottish Government’s willingness to continue to support the sector along the road to recovery and Optometry Scotland acknowledges the transitional package of supporting allowing practices time to plan ahead.

There will be some circumstances where these minimum thresholds may not be appropriate.   Optometry Scotland has highlighted this as a concern and the Scottish Government have proposed that Health Boards should consider statements from individual practices whose capacities remain lower due to restrictions in place from infection control measures and social distancing.  Optometry Scotland is urging any practices who are concerned that they are not operating at the minimum threshold levels, to complete the appropriate statement and immediately notify their Health Board in advance with reasons as to why current regulations are preventing them from reaching threshold levels.

Optometry Scotland is appreciative of the ongoing support of the Scottish Government and of the transitional format and forward planning outlined in the latest PCA.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, OS have continued to provide updates and offer support to members and non-members alike; if you would like to support us to support you, please Join – Optometry Scotland.

We also invite your comments and feedback through our website and TellOS@optometrysotland.org.uk.

Best wishes,

Your OS Team