Consultation on 2021/22 fee increase for General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) eye examinations; Future reviews of remuneration for NHS community eyecare services

19th December 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Further to our email of December 10th regarding the opportunity to consult with the Scottish Government on potential fee increases and a formal model for annual review of all fees and services. We are pleased to confirm that we have now received the offer in writing from Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Public Health and, as part of the consultation process, would gratefully appreciate your feedback on the key points included in the survey link below.

In summary, the Scottish Government has proposed for consultation; a 3% increase to all GOS eye examination fees (including domiciliary visiting fees), backdated to 1 April 2021 (not applicable to additional payments made as part of COVID-19 financial support measures).

In addition, the Scottish Government would like to consult with Optometry Scotland (OS), as your representative body, on the process for future remuneration reviews and has proposed the following:

  • GOS fees, and in due course fees for new planned NHS community eyecare services (such as the Community Glaucoma Service and Low Vision Service), will be reviewed annually, beginning in 2022/23 with GOS fees; and

 

  • increases to these fees will match the percentage applied by the Scottish Government to fees for General Dental Practitioners

In her letter to Optometry Scotland, Ms Todd believes this delivers a sustainable and equitable funding model for community eyecare services which (alongside the £7.5m investment announced in the Scottish Budget for new community eyecare projects) demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering a world class Scottish eyecare system, and one which recognises the sector’s outstanding contribution – both during the pandemic and in the future delivery of new NHS community eyecare services.

As members and stakeholders are aware, OS has campaigned not only for fee increases, but also for a long-term and sustainable funding model to safeguard and enhance the future of Community Eyecare services. As part of that work we established an Expert Working Group which produced a report recommending a minimum budget increase of 3 per cent annually.  We are delighted to see an initial offer that reflects the productive discussions to date with Scottish Government and very importantly one that commits to the ongoing annual review of future remuneration.

We are required to respond formally to the Scottish Government offer of consultation and, as part of that process, we would welcome input on the proposals from our valued members and stakeholders. You can share your thoughts with us using the below SurveyMonkey link:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BWWCRH3

We require all responses by no later than December 31st, 2021 so we can review all feedback before meeting the Scottish Government’s response deadline of January 7th, 2022.

Many thanks in advance for your input and support,

David Quigley                              Julie Mosgrove

Chair                                             Vice Chair

Optometry Scotland                   Optometry Scotland