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LOCSU News Commissioning Special

News posted: 24/09/2014

Commissioning Special

In this special edition of LOCSU News, we look at the commissioning success of LOCs and LOC Companies since April 2014. With many services activated at the start of the current financial year either as new services or as recommissioned services, this LOCSU News Commissioning Special aims to bring you right up-to-date with all the procurement news around the country. Detailed case studies on commissioning will be available in LOCSU’s Annual Report due for release later this month.

  • AprilOpen


    When South Tees CCG and Hartlepool and Stockton CCG (HAST CCG) decided to move their existing community services onto the NHS Standard Contract, they worked closely with the LOC and LOCSU Optical Lead Zoe Richmond, to revisit the pathways and introduce added value.

    The use of a tailored OptoManager module was negotiated so that the outcomes of the services could be measured and compared against national standards. Combined, the value of the multiple contracts covering MECs, cataract referral, low vision and IOP RR, between the CCG and the 40 plus practices involved in the three-year deal, will be worth between more than £200,000.


    Working with Optical Lead Poonam Sharma to explain the benefits of the LOC Company model to Commissioners was the start of a process of increased collaboration in Oxfordshire which resulted in an expansion of the IOP Repeat Readings service (Level 1a) and the re-launch of the service under an LOC Company contract in April. The service now includes visual fields repeats and Level 1c to manage referrals from non-participating and out of areas practices.


    Supported by LOCSU and Optical Lead Charles Barlow, Primary Eyecare Arden, Herefordshire & Worcestershire gained their first success as a company in a competitive tender launched by South Worcestershire and Wyre Forest CCGs. The Commissioner was looking for a single provider to deliver IOP Repeat Readings, cataract post-op and PEARS, all of which were currently provided by individual optical practices across the Worcestershire LOC area. Community monitoring of stable glaucoma was also to be included within the new service. The Regional LOC Company, with a network of over 40 practices willing to provide the service, was announced as the preferred bidder for the service in February 2014.

    After some discussion during the mobilisation phase, it was agreed with the Commissioner that the LOC Company would commence with the existing pathways from April, whilst a model for community monitoring of patients with stable glaucoma was developed with the local hospital trust. The service is valued at around £300,000 per annum.


    North Essex CCG has awarded individual contracts for a General Referral Refinement and Paediatric Referral Refinement on a one-year basis with the fees yet to be confirmed.

    North Yorkshire & Humber

    Covering East Riding CCG, the LOC Regional Company has been awarded AQP status for a CORRS pathway (MECs and Glaucoma Repeat Readings and Glaucoma Referral Refinement) on a year-long basis worth a predicted £100,000.

    Kent & Medway

    Two Kent CCGs have commissioned pathways worth an estimated total of more than £180,000. Individual contracts worth around £100,000 combined, have been awarded by Medway CCG to practices that have agreed to provide PEARS. In addition to this the Kent & Medway LOC Company has been awarded a contract to deliver a Glaucoma IOP Repeat Readings service worth a predicted £84,000 by Canterbury and Costal CCG.

    Lambeth, Southwark & Lewisham

    The Lambeth, Southwark & Lewisham Minor Eye Conditions Service was recommissioned in April to help reduce unnecessary referrals to secondary care in cases where the eye condition can be managed in a primary care setting. Patients can be referred to the service by their GP or walk into participating opticians.

    Optometrists can prescribe a range of medications available at number of local participating pharmacies.

    The recommissioned scheme is run through individual contracts with practices.

  • MayOpen


    A groundbreaking community ophthalmology service launched in May 2014 following a successful bid by the Croydon LOC Company which had huge support from LOCSU and, in particular, Optical Lead Poonam Sharma.

    Uniquely, the service provided by the LOC Company employs a consultant ophthalmologist who will provide both clinical sessions and act as the clinical lead. Patients who experience recently occurring eye conditions will be treated closer to home; it will refine cataract and glaucoma referrals, and generally reduce the number of patients needing to attend secondary care.

    The three-year Croydon contract incorporates seven community-based pathways and has a predicted income of around £350,000.


    The appearance of an AQP tender for a Community Ophthalmology Managed Service was the trigger for Primary Eyecare (Nottinghamshire) Ltd to spring into action.

    Optical Lead Dharmesh Patel worked with the local team to prepare and submit a bid on behalf of the LOC Company. The specification for the Community Ophthalmology Service was essentially an expanded MECS service with the patient referred to the service following triage. The LOC Company was awarded AQP status in March and the service rolled out in May. The AQP procurement is estimated to be worth just under £120,000.


    With the help of Optical Lead, Dharmesh Patel, the Heywood, Middleton, Rochdale & Bury LOC developed a business case for a MECS scheme with Bury CCG. Commissioners were receptive to the concept as it met their objectives of reducing hospital-based ophthalmology and delivery eye care closer to home. The value of the service direct to company procurement is predicted to be worth almost £120,000.


    When Wolverhampton CCG launched an AQP procurement for Community Ophthalmology Service in May 2014, LOCSU Optical Lead, Charles Barlow, immediately contacted colleagues at the regional LOC Company and Wolverhampton LOC, to set up a bid team. Primary Eyecare (Heart of West Midlands) Ltd was awarded AQP status in July 2014 and the local team, with LOCSU’s help, are now working to mobilise the service. The so called “Community Ophthalmology Service” actually consists of three LOCSU pathways; IOP RR, cataract and PEARS, which the Commissioner clarified, could all be delivered by accredited optometrists. The figure given for the total contract value over the three years was over £600,000, which made it an excellent first win for the regional company.


    Primary Eyecare Camden & Islington has been awarded a direct to company, one-year contract by Camden CCG to deliver a pre and post op cataract service. The contract is predicted to be worth £105,000 and will use the OptoManager IT module.

  • JuneOpen

    Primary Eyecare North East

    Primary Eyecare North East has entered into a new contract with Cumbria CCG to provide the IOP Repeat Readings service previously delivered by individual practices. The revamped service will involve up to 60 practices across Cumbria as subcontractors to the regional LOC Company, seeing around 1,000 patients per annum. This hopes to bring better sign up from practices than under the previous arrangement and gives Commissioners improved quality assurances. The 12-month contract brings an uplift in fees for practices, and utilises the OptoManager IT module.

  • JulyOpen


    Following discussions with Dorset LOC and Optical Lead Chris Newall, Dorset CCG has awarded individual contracts to optical practices to deliver a low vision pathway commencing July 2014. The overall value of the service is in the region of £140,000 per year.

  • AugustOpen

    Heywood Middleton & Rochdale

    Heywood Middleton & Rochdale launched a glaucoma repeat readings – contracted through GM Primary Eyecare. The fully three-part LOCSU pathway ­– IOP RR/IOP visual fields repeat readings. Launched in August it will be a non-participating practice referral pathway.

  • SeptemberOpen


    Thanks to support from Optical Lead Liz Greenwood; the Lincolnshire LOC Company secured AQP status in the procurement exercise for what the Lincolnshire CCGs called a “Triage and Treat” service. The service, which is similar to MECS with referral triage, covers four CCGs across the county and will commence early September. Around 4,500 patients are expected to be dealt with under a triage process involving 14 optical practices subcontracted to Primary Eyecare Lincolnshire, and two ophthalmologists and one GP practice. Whilst AQP status does not guarantee any patients will access a particular provider, the overall value of the service is estimated at £145,000 per annum.

    Primary Eyecare North East

    The Regional Company, Primary Eyecare North East, PE(NE), secured a contract with Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield (DDES) CCG to deliver a pilot service for People with Learning Disabilities.

    LOCSU Optical Lead Zoe Richmond played a major role leading a task and finish group within the Local Eye Health Network (LEHN) along with the LOC lead, which led to the introduction of the pilot in the DDES CCG area in September 2014. The service targets patients with moderate to severe learning disabilities. Ten practices have signed up as sub-contractors to the regional LOC Company to provide the pathway and are expected to see about 200 patients.

    PE(NE) has also used its large footprint in the North East and Cumbria to its advantage and has negotiated with seven CCGs to bring existing IOP RR and children’s services across the region under one contract involving up to 140 practices. This means patients and practices across Cumbria, Northumberland, and Tyne and Wear are benefitting from a standardised approach with same service specification.