LOCSU welcomes new Croydon LOC success

20 May 2014

A groundbreaking community ophthalmology service has been launched with the help of LOCSU following a successful competitive tendering process. The service run by Complete Ophthalmic Services CIC - a company set up by Croydon LOC - is believed to be the first service of its kind England to make extensive use of optical practices at the core of the service.

Uniquely, the service provided by the LOC company employs a consultant ophthalmologist, Professor Will Ayliffe, who will provide both clinical sessions and act as the clinical lead. Patients who are experiencing recently occurring eye conditions will be treated closer to home; it will refine cataract and glaucoma referrals, and generally reduce the number of patients needing to attend secondary care.

Applauding the LOC Company’s success, LOCSU Managing Director, Katrina Venerus said: “This is a fantastic achievement that demonstrates the flexibility of the LOC company model which is adaptable to meet the requirements of any community service. Success in the Croydon competitive tender was the result of a huge amount of work by a dedicated team from the LOC company, combined with expertise and hands on support from LOCSU. The number of LOC companies being utilised by commissioners in England to provide services is increasing rapidly, and we are delighted that we have been able to establish a vehicle for practices to work together in a structured way.”

Ms Venerus added: “The ability to collect robust data is essential to manage a service like this, so it is fortunate that the OptoManager IT platform has been developed to enable LOC companies to deliver.”

LOCSU Optical Lead, Poonam Sharma said: “It is terrific to see the Croydon Community Ophthalmology Service finally roll out after all of the work the team has done. I have worked with a number of LOC companies on Any Qualified Provider bids and competitive tenders, but I have to say that the Croydon project has been particularly rewarding as it has brought about collaboration with ophthalmology and really recognises community optical practices as key providers of eye health services.”

Chairman of the LOC and governance lead for the new service, Christopher Kerr said: “This is a landmark achievement for both Croydon and the optometric profession. For me personally this marks the culmination of 20 years of continuous work in Croydon since the foundation of the LOC. The goal achieved is that optometrists in Croydon are, uniquely now, the gatekeepers of eye care.”

Project Manager, Charles Greenwood said: “This has been a long and complex project, with the bid process starting last summer, but it does show that LOC companies can be competitive and win these tenders.”

Mr Greenwood added: “I hope that this will become a model for more services throughout the country and that other LOCs will be inspired by our success.”

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