Please find below a brief summary of the important things which were discussed at Wednesday’s webinar. The full webinar can also be viewed below.
Only practices which remain ‘open’ providing ‘essential ‘ services will be able to claim a monthly payment calculated as being the average monthly GOS claims (includes GOS1/3/4 claims) over the last twelve months from March 2019- February 2020. Richard Everitt (for the NHS) said it was a grant and do not need to be repaid. Being ‘open’ means that your practice is contactable during what would have been your normal contracted opening hours but the premises do not need to be physically open.
Patients should be able to contact someone by telephone or email and most practices will either divert incoming calls to a remote location or have an answerphone message giving another number to ring. An answerphone message saying that you will call back tomorrow is not acceptable.
Essential services include the repair or replacement of spectacles and contact lens orders and should allow for face to face consultations where appropriate when PPE should be used. Essential services are distinct from urgent or emergency services which should be covered by separately commissioned MECS schemes where they exist. (NHSE is looking at advising CCGs to commission these services where none currently exists as a matter of urgency).
These monthly payments by the NHS are in addition to any grants or furloughing help which businesses will be able to claim in accordance with the announcement by HMG recently.
Those practices which are totally closed cannot claim the average monthly GOS payment.
If it is necessary to undertake an essential GOS sight test you can insert ‘Covid19’ where the patient normally signs to prevent potential transmission by patients holding the same pen.
If the patient is overdue a sight test but needs new spectacles and is normally entitled to a GOS3 voucher, and is having no symptoms which might suggest a sight test is necessary, you can use your judgement to use an old spectacle RX and make out a new GOS3 without having done a new sight test. It will need to be approved by NHSBSA in the same way that adult GOS4s need to be approved.
Secretary Lancashire & Morecambe Bay LOC