Southern merger offers prospect of mega-PEC

5 July 2017

A new super-Primary Eye Company (PEC) - across five LOCs and covering 10 million people - can be a template for the sector to match the Sustainable Transformation Partnerships (STPs) being rolled out by the NHS as part of its reforms.

Richard Whittington insists that the optical sector will need to match the geography of STPs if it is to achieve its strategic objective to see eye health services delivered at scale.Merger talks to establish Primary Eyecare Southern at LOCSU

The LOCSU Chief Operating Officer also says that the merger is be a blueprint for the consolidation of Primary Eyecare Companies across LOCs and within optics.

His comments come following merger talks hosted at LOCSU at the end of May. Around the table were representatives from East Sussex, West Sussex, Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire LOCs. At the time of writing, talks are ongoing about widening this to cover other areas in the south of England.

All five LOCs and LOCSU agreed a proposed structure for the mega-PEC. Each LOC will have board representation with relationships and responsibilities. Detailed discussion also set out the distribution of responsibilities between the LOC and the Primary Eyecare Company.

“STPs support the Primary Eyecare Company model,” Whittington said, “but there is now a need to consolidate these organisations into wider, more regional, organisations.

“We are seeing that a commissioning drive is coming from the acute trusts; therefore, commissioning discussions may be with different organisations. Commissioners of all types may wish to commission wider, speciality-based services rather than specific primary care-based services, so delivery models may need to be modified.

“Step down care will become the main strategy priority in the coming year. Regional PECs are best placed to deliver these community monitoring services.

“So, as a sector we need to act in unity as there is much more competition in the wider market.

“Primary Eyecare Southern is a perfect template for these developments,” the former NHS Commissioning Director revealed. “This merger, which cover ultimately cover the entire southern part of England, offers a blueprint for others in terms of the merger discussion process, the structure and the governance.

“We were able to iron out a number of misconceptions over roles, funding and responsibilities.

“The LOC remains responsible for the commissioning discussions and the detailed contract. Beyond that, Primary Eyecare Company is responsible for contract delivery. The MoU outlines that the PEC will provide both annual and quarterly reports to the LOC and CCG.”

Whittington said that the next part priority for the sector was the publication of detailed, national model for step-down care services.

“By doing this, we will have a unified approach in terms if our contracting model, our clinical model and our cost mode.

“This year’s NOC will also focus on a series of practical workshops that will ensure that those appointed to a Primary Eyecare Company to deliver governance, financial, clinical and performance elements of the contract have the specific skills and support to succeed.”

For more information about the NOC, visit the LOCSU website where you will find links to our dedicated NOC feeds on social media, including a recent video update on the programme and booking. Each LOC receives one free delegate place.

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