LOCSU’s policy is the aggregation of the ideas and principles which guide our activities in the pursuit of our agreed objectives. Policy both sets and reinforces LOCSU’s direction and permeates our decision-making processes on matters big and small.
LOCSU’s First Principles
- LOCs are local experts in eye health. LOCs have a statutory duty to represent their local optical contractors and performers. LOCs have great reserves of local expertise and all elements of the eye health pathway must engage with LOCs at all junctures to ensure this expertise is best put to use.
- Far more patients can be seen in the community than is presently the case. Optometrists and dispensing opticians have the skills, equipment and will to treat a huge number of the patients who currently attend GPs and secondary care with particular eye health problems. Commissioners must commission innovatively to help address the challenges of an ageing population and growing demand for eye care services, while addressing the Government and NHS England’s prevention agenda.
- PECs are the best model for the delivery of extended primary eyecare. By utilising a single provider model, PECs are more attractive to commissioners than a variety of individual providers. PECs must be inclusive and transparent to ensure diversity of service and patient choice.
- Community practice must be better valued. The GOS fee should better reflect the quality and scope of service provided. Also, while we recognise that NHS England is seeking to address the issue of IT integration, community optical practice is still the only primary care profession that has not been funded to develop IT links into NHS computer systems.
- Collaboration across the optical sector is essential. To avoid duplication of effort and to ensure unanimity of message across the various optical bodies (as far as possible), we all need to work together and not in silos. While detail is of course essential, it should not come at the cost of failing to identify the core issues.
- Optics must position itself for the future. Technology is developing quickly; patient demands are evolving and the make-up of the sector is increasingly diverse. Optics cannot afford to adhere too closely to the ways things were done in the past, but instead identify new challenges and opportunities and be ready for them.
- Good governance is vital. A strong governance programme, whether for LOCs, PECs, or any other organisation, is vital for engendering confidence in the optical sector and for the sector to fulfil its widest potential role.
The LOCSU-led paper produced for local authorities in England has more detailed information on many of LOCSU’s positions.