LOCSU Annual Report 2013/14 - page 19

CASE STUDY – Any Qualified Provider
Essex LOC asked for LOCSU’s support as part of their
journey to bid in an AQP procurement in autumn
2013. Although at that stage, Essex LOC had
considerable experience of providing community
eyecare services, this was the first time that it had
been involved in a service that was being procured
through an AQP process.
Optical Lead Poonam Sharma was responsible for
helping the LOC to activate an LOC Company, and from
there to bid and be successful in the procurement of a
Glaucoma Referral Refinement service.
Poonam explains that she led the LOC through the
procurement process, drafting the tender response
and submitting the bid on behalf of the LOC Company.
The Optical Lead says that, as the Glaucoma Referral
Refinement service was the first service that Essex had
bid for as an LOC Company, it was important that she
was on hand to provide significant support required
during the procurement process.
She adds that in this case, the Commissioners needed
to be convinced that the OptoManager module could
be specially adapted to meet their rather particular
requirements, before we could secure the service.
Local Commissioners in North East Essex welcomed the
use of the LOC Company model and complimented the
LOC on its diligent and considered approach saying it
put them in a good position for future commissioning.
Caroline Westley, Commissioner with NHS North
East Essex CCG, who has been working with the
LOC Company since January 2014 , following their
successful bid in the procurement for the Glaucoma
Referral Refinement Service, said: “The Company was
created in a timely manner with the understanding
around the future CCG procurement and contracting
approach, whereby the CCG will be commissioning
with single organisations for an entire specialty service
and looking for this contractor to sub-contract for
“The Local Optical Committee has worked to organise
this structure in line with general practice to ensure
primary care is in the best position to continue to
provide services to the patients of North East Essex
within the new structures and contracting models.
“The LOC Company has been extremely attentive to
the service development and implementation and has
worked closely with the CCG in making changes and
delivering the services required.
“The CCG feels that the LOC group will be in a
good position and will be key players in the future
commissioned and contracted services within North
East Essex.”
Emma Spofforth, Secretary of Essex LOC, said: “The
work on the LOC for a procurement exercise can be
quite onerous for an optometrist to undertake. The
wider insight that LOCSU gives you, where the Optical
Lead can draw on models and approaches from other
CCGs, is invaluable. The help the Optical Lead gives in
increasing your knowledge and capabilities is really
helpful. They give you a wider insight that you are
part of an all-encompassing organisation, bidding on
behalf of the whole profession.
“The practical help Poonamwas able to offer,
clarifying procedures, unpacking technical detail,
explaining the jargon and translating that into
everyday language for the those involved, is of
immense use to everyone on the LOC. Poonamwas
able to speak to other professionals on our behalf,
such as GPs and ophthalmologists, explaining the
role we can play clinically in providing a service for
patients and Commissioners. The extra weight of
having an organisation like LOCSU behind us, has
enabled us to explain to Commissioners and health
care professionals alike, that optometrists can tender
for and supply such services within the remit and
governance requirements of the new NHS.”
In Lincolnshire, what could have been a group of
would-be business competitors, formed an LOC
Company and are enjoying the fruits of their first
success, having been awarded AQP status for a
community service with the support of LOCSU through
Optical Lead, Liz Greenwood.
Tushar Majithia, Chair of the LOC Company, admits
that some practices had looked at bidding for the
service individually before coming together under the
single provider model.
“We did look at bidding separately initially but it made
sense to go through the LOC and to form a network
through the LOC Company,” he revealed.
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