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News from LOCSU

News posted: 03/10/2014

  • Including DOs in LOC CET eventsOpen

    The number of dispensing opticians attending LOC meetings is increasing, and the trend is set to continue as more are co-opted as officers. However, DOs are often overlooked when it comes to CET events organised by LOCs. We would like to take this opportunity to point out that much of the CET arranged for optometrists can also be approved for dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians within the same CET application; it is not just the competency of “Optical Appliances” which is relevant to DOs.

    The Communication competencies and the Professional Conduct competencies for optometrists, contact lens opticians and dispensing opticians are almost identically worded, and so including DOs in the target group is often a case of just stating the same learning objectives in the application. In addition, some of the e-clinical competencies such as Ocular Disease and Assessment of Visual Function have an echo in the DO/CLO competencies.

    Please note: If applying for a transfer of CET from another Provider, check if the approval includes the target groups that you are inviting to the meeting. If it doesn’t you can, with the Provider’s permission, copy the submission though your own Provider account and add competencies for DOs/CLOs where appropriate.

    The team at the ABDO CET office can help with the competency choice and the wording of learning objectives in approval applications for mixed target groups. Tel: 01206 734155 or email The membership team at ABDO can email ABDO members in LOC areas with details of LOC meetings. Contact Katie Docker, ABDO’s Head of  Membership Services, at

  • Deadline looming for NOC bookingsOpen

    With just over three weeks to go to this year’s National Optical Conference, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel from 23rd-24th October, the closing date for bookings is drawing close and places and accommodation are limited. Remember, there is one free place for each LOC but don’t leave it too late to book.

    The emerging themes from the Call to Action are high on the conference programme, with Taryn Harding our headline speaker from NHS England along with leaders from general practice, pharmacy and dentistry sharing their experiences and insight on the Call to Action consultations.

    NOC 2014 will also focus on the enablers for the Call to Action. A panel of experts from ophthalmology, commissioning and the optical sector will discuss the some of the key drivers of change.

    As well as the opportunity to hear expert speakers in the plenary sessions, the NOC offers the chance to meet together in smaller groups in the parallel sessions. In response to the feedback from last year’s conference, we have moved the Friday morning networking sessions from regional meetings to role-based meetings. Here, you can swap tactics and share challenges and successes over the past year with colleagues.

    To book a place at the conference and for more details follow this link.

  • Annual Report publishedOpen

    This year’s LOCSU Annual Report, detailing the increase in the number of LOCs adopting the LOC Company model, has now been published and a hard copy will be posted to each LOC.

    The 2013/14 report details 84 services worth more than £3million procured in the past year with 22 entirely new services. It also shows that 76 of the 81 LOCs now have at least one community service and LOC Companies have 53 contracts in place with CCGs.

    The 32-page report, with 18 detailed case studies, can be viewed or downloaded from the LOCSU website by following this link.

  • Submit your questions on the Annual ReportOpen

    LOCSU welcomes any questions about the 2013/4 Annual Report which is due to be discussed at the NOC on Friday 24th October. You can submit questions about the report by following this link. LOCs can also request an individual written response on any points you wish you raise.

  • CTA response published and next stepsOpen

    LOCSU and the Optical Confederation have submitted a joint response to the NHS Call to Action arguing that the NHS must make better use of community optical practices if it is to cope with the rapidly increasing eye health needs of the population. The organisations have also worked with stakeholders from across the whole eye health sector on the response to the Call to Action from the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning.

    As well as the national response, the majority of LOCs submitted a local response and a great number of individual contractors and performers also got involved. LOCSU and the Optical Confederation would like to thank everyone who took time out over the summer to work on a response as well as those that attended the numerous local Call to Action stakeholder engagement events hosted by NHS England.

    The results of the Call to Action for eye health, along with the findings from the Calls to Action for general practice, pharmacy and dentistry that took place over the past year, will be used by NHS England to help it shape its primary care commissioning strategy, which is expected to be published later in the year.

    In the meantime you can read the full response from LOCSU and the Optical Confederation here.

  • Optical Lead steps downOpen

    LOCSU would like to pay tribute to the excellent contribution from Charles Barlow who is stepping down from his position at Optical Lead due to business and personal commitments. We will be recruiting to add to the LOCSU team in due course but in the meantime the other Optical Leads, along with head office colleagues, will be on hand to provide support for the LOCs Charles was working with.

  • Congratulations to National Eye Health Week Open

    Huge congratulations go to the National Eye Health Week (NEHW) team and everyone who got involved in making NEHW 2014 a great success.

    Over 300 pieces of press coverage were generated including supplements in national newspapers, an appearance from the College of Optometrists Clinical Advisor, Dr Susan Blakeney, on ITV’s This Morning and Dr Hilary Jones talking about NEHW and importance of eye health. That’s all in addition to the massive effort made across the country by optical practices, Local Eye Health Networks, public health teams, and the voluntary sector taking the awareness campaign out to local communities, which included special events in practices, stands in shopping centres and community centres and various local radio interviews.

    The LOCSU team got involved by joining AOP colleagues at our London head office for a fundraising alphabet lunch which raised the grand sum of £233 for eye health charities.  Roll on NEHW 2015!

  • Sight loss guide for GPsOpen

    A learning tool to help general practice teams increase their knowledge and awareness of eye health issues affecting older people is to be launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the UK Vision Strategy (UKVS) at this week’s RCGP conference. “Sight loss in older people – The essential guide for general practice” also provides guidance on how to support people with sight loss, and the links between age, sight loss and other conditions such as diabetes and dementia.

    The guide has been produced as part of the RCGP’s eye health clinical priority programme and comes hot on the heels of a UKVS survey, in collaboration with RCGP that revealed the majority of GPs are not confident in detecting early signs of major eye diseases. The results of the survey to establish levels of awareness amongst GPs and their Practice Teams in terms of managing the eye health of their patients and the needs of their patients with sight loss, showed just one third (34.1%) of respondents were confident in diagnosing symptoms or signs of age-related macular degeneration, with only half of GPs confident in diagnosing diabetic retinopathy (48.8%), glaucoma (51.2%) or refractive error (49.3%). The majority of respondents (81.1%) expressed an interest in receiving training.

    A copy of the guide will be circulated to LOCs for information in due course.