LOCSU Annual Report 2013/14 - page 20

LOCSU Annual Report 2013/14
“Prior to the bid, LOCSU helped us sort out all
the legalities and form the Company and Liz was
there to advise us on the company structure and
the responsibilities, such as lead roles for risk and
information governance.”
The “Triage and Treat” service, similar to MECS with
triage, awarded through the AQP, is worth up to
£145,000 and covers four CCGs across the county.
Around 4,500 patients are expected to be dealt with
under a triage process involving 14 optical practices,
two ophthalmologists and one GP practice.
“As an LOC we were not familiar with the NHS
terminology and the bid process. Liz worked closely with
us and her knowledge to help write the bid was very
valuable. We are very grateful for LOCSU’s support.”
“We are now looking to bring other services, such
as repeat readings, inside the Company and the
support we have received puts us in a good position
to compete for other services in the future.”
LOCs in the West Midlands took the strategic
decision back in 2013 to form a regional company
to put them in a strong position for negotiating
with Commissioners who are attracted to the single
provider model. Primary Eyecare (Heart of West
Midlands) Ltd was established to act on behalf
of six LOCs.
Therefore, when Wolverhampton CCG launched an
AQP procurement for a Community Ophthalmology
Service in May 2014, LOCSU Optical Lead, Charles
Barlow, immediately contacted colleagues at the
regional LOC Company and Wolverhampton LOC, to
set up a bid team. The regional company was awarded
AQP status in July 2014 and the local team, with
LOCSU’s help, are now working to mobilise the service.
Charles points out that Community Ophthalmology
Service could be misleading in this case as the service
actually consists of three LOCSU pathways; IOP RR,
Cataract and PEARS, which the Commissioner clarified,
could all be delivered by accredited optometrists.
The figure given for the total contract value over the
three years was over £600,000, which made it an
excellent first win for the regional company. However,
the directors are fully aware that achieving AQP status
does not guarantee business for the company, and
that other providers may also achieve AQP status.
Nevertheless, with nearly 40 practices across the
Wolverhampton CCG area lined up to become
accredited sub-contractors, Primary Eyecare (Heart
of West Midlands) will provide tremendous choice for
patients when the service launches in the autumn.
The appearance of an AQP tender for a Community
Ophthalmology Managed Service was the trigger for
Primary Eyecare (Nottinghamshire) Ltd to spring into
The procurement covered three CCGs (Nottingham
North and East CCG, Rushcliffe CCG and
Nottinghamshire West CCG) and was for one service
and one contract spanning all three.
When LOCSU became aware of the commissioning
opportunity, Optical Lead, Dharmesh Patel, initiated
discussions with Nottinghamshire LOC about
submitting a bid. Because Commissioners wanted one
contract covering the whole service, discussions involved
the utilisation of the LOC single provider company.
The Community Ophthalmology Managed Service was
to work like an expanded MECS service with the patient
referred to the service following triage. The aimwas to
reduce referrals to secondary care and bring care closer
to home after a 2010 pilot had shown that more than
40% of all ophthalmic referrals were capable of being
seen in a community service.
The local landscape was complicated as some practices
initially wanted to bid for the service separately, though
they later decided to join the LOC Company bid.
The Optical Lead’s role was further complicated as
there were only two company directors and a number
of conflicts of interest arose. Dharmesh acted as
the bid manager, producing tender documents,
clarifying the process, and ultimately developing and
submitting the bid. Commissioners awarded Primary
Eyecare Nottinghamshire AQP status and the service
commenced in May 2014.
Andrew Spybey, Director of Primary Eyecare
(Nottinghamshire) Ltd, said: “Fortunately, although
we had no real experience of dealing with the CCGs at
this level, we have had the constant support of LOCSU,
in particular Dharmesh Patel, who put together our
initial bids, and has always been available by phone,
email or in person, to support us in negotiations with
the Commissioners, and in rolling out the service to
participating practitioners.
”Having gone through the process of successfully
bidding for an NHS contract once, and seeing the work
involved, I am sure we could not have done it alone
and I am personally grateful to Dharmesh for all the
support he has given, and continues to give me as
Clinical Lead.”
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