Single Operating Model for GOS Contract Monitoring is getting closer

9 July 2012

In a ground-breaking move for the optical sector, the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) has held the first ever cross-sector summit to test out how the GOS (General Ophthalmic Services) contract will be managed from April 2013. 

The event, held in Leeds on 3rd July, was the first meeting to bring together senior level figures in the Department of Health and national and local optical leaders to discuss the national framework for the single operating model.  This model will govern the way the GOS contract is monitored and the commissioning of primary care services by the NHS from 2013. 

Having a national framework for contract monitoring for GOS will avoid local interpretations which have in some areas caused difficulties for optometrists, dispensing opticians and local commissioners.  Reality testing with all stakeholders at once not only aids discussion and comprehension but saves endless time and effort at a time when  time pressures are enormous and finances are in short supply for everyone.

Alan Tinger, Chairman of LOCSU, heralded the event as an important step forward in the relationship between national and local commissioners and local eye care professionals.  He said:  “Being asked by the NHS Commissioning Board to test out the national framework for the single operating model is hugely significant.  The benefits of this model will be felt by every Local Optical Committee; a national standard for contract monitoring will be appreciated by any contractor  who has had experience of trying to challenge some of the different local variations of the GOS contract.  The standard will also bring consistency to the relationships LOCs have, as providers, with their local commissioners.

“It is a real sign of the progress made by LOCSU and others to ensure that the optical sector is involved in shaping the plans for eye care commissioning before they happen!  LOCSU’s unique role means that we have been able to ensure that the diversity of the optical sector both nationally and locally has been represented at the discussions and led to agreed outcomes.  It was greatly encouraging to find significant agreement and common ground amongst everyone who attended.  This meeting was a critical ‘line in the sand’ in moving forward on some of these issues.”

As well as representation from both independent sector and multiple retailers, and dispensing opticians and optometrists, the event was also attended by:

  • Derek Busby, Section Head Eye Care, and Jim Barlow, Optical Lead NHS Commissioning Board Implementation Programme, from the Department of Health
  • officers from Bradford, Rotherham, Leeds, Doncaster and North Yorkshire Local Optical Committees
  • leaders and senior clinicians from the Optical Confederation
  • representatives from PCC, Primary Care and Payment Agencies and
  • Quality in Optometry

LOCSU's advisors will be working on developing the Quality in Optometry resource further over the next few months to support contractors and performers.

Jim Barlow is also presenting at this year’s National Optical Conference which takes place on 18th and 19th October at Hilton Metropole Birmingham.  To find out more or to book your place (every LOC/ROC gets a place free of charge) visit

Notes to editors

  1. More details about the new single operating model, which comes into effect from 1 April 2013  can be found in the document Securing excellence in primary care  which can be found at
  2. The Facilitated Workshop to test Performance Framework, organised by LOCSU was held on 3rd July 2012 in Leeds
  3. NOAA refers to National Optometric Advisers Association and NHSPCC refers to NHS Primary Care Commissioning


Media enquiries
Jenny Manchester, Communications Manager at LOCSU on or call 07703 677697.


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Dates for the diary

National Optical Conference 2018

Chesford Grange hotel, Nr Kenilworth, Warwick CV8 2LD

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2018-11-19 18:30:00 - 2018-11-19 21:00:00

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