NHS England confirm that they have submitted proposals to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) which will alter the GOS regulations affecting contractors and their services.
In a letter issued on 3 July, a number of amendments were outlined which are set to come into force between November 2023 and January 2024.
A reduction to the submission window for GOS 1, 5 and 6 forms and a move to an electronic payment claims system for all contractors by January 2024 has also been put forward.
NHS England has also confirmed that there is no legal requirement to provide a permanent address for patients who are homeless*.
The Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) have been engaging with NHS England on each of the proposals.
OFNC Chair, Paul Carroll said: “OFNC welcomes the July optometry update from NHS England which contains a summary of our recent discussions to remove barriers to service access for more vulnerable patients.
“We have also been closely engaged with the proposals to modernise several aspects of the current GOS regulations. We will continue to work with NHS England to ensure that, when implemented, these proposals work in the interests of patients and contractors.”
“In particular, the OFNC has stressed the importance of implementing continuity guidance so that businesses have a robust protocol to follow should we see system outages that affect the claims submission process as we have seen in recent times.”
In addition, the proposals look to extend the period in which a GOS contract is terminated as a result of the death of the contract holder from 7 days to 28 days, allowing more time for arrangements to be made.
It will also no longer be a requirement for contractors to declare their sex as part of their application to hold a GOS contract.