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OFNC Update – Impact of new lockdown on practices in England

8 January 2021

Following the introduction of a new national lockdown in England this week, the OFNC has continued its discussions with NHS England on potential additional support for optical practices affected by the new restrictions.

Under the new rules optical practices are able to remain open, prioritising essential and urgent care and also offering routine care where capacity allows. However, it is already clear that the new restrictions are having an impact on people accessing eye care, and will cause continued difficulties for domiciliary providers in accessing care homes until the vaccination programme makes progress.

The OFNC and NHS England have agreed to work together to monitor activity levels, and will continue to meet frequently to assess any changes to the current situation and discuss the parameters under which NHS England may consider further intervention to support providers. We will provide further information on this as soon as we can.

GOS contractors are invited to contact their OFNC representative body in confidence with information about the viability of services as a result of the new restrictions. The OFNC will draw on this information (in anonymised form) in its work with NHS England. Please use the following contact details:

ABDO – policy@abdo.org.uk

AOP – policy@aop.org.uk

FODO – healthpolicy@fodo.com

Meanwhile OFNC member bodies are working with others in the sector and with NHS England to ensure that all patient-facing staff in optical practices and domiciliary providers can access COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible, and will continue to provide updates.

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