Cooling off period (in homes or places of work)
The Optical Confederation and UK Domiciliary Eyecare Committee have revised their guidance on statutory cooling off periods to make clear that the rules also apply to patients ordering sight tests and products in the workplace as well as in homes (when over the value of £35). This does not apply when the contract is with an employer (or body corporate – see guidance for details). A copy of the guidance is also available from the Optical Confederation and LOCSU websites.
Independent adjudicator service for domiciliary eye
Traditionally complaints about a domiciliary eye care provider’s failure to adhere to the Optical Confederation’s code of practice for domiciliary eye care providers have been dealt with by the Domiciliary Eye Care Committee secretariat and the provider’s representative body. This has been an effective and economical arrangement to date. However, despite the facts that all complaints have been dealt with impartially and most have been resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned, it is recognised that times have moved on and a more demonstrably independent system is now required. The Optical Confederation, through the Domiciliary Eye Care Committee (DEC), has therefore set up an Independent Adjudicator Service (IAS) to handle any such complaints in the future. This will be funded by a levy on DEC members but will otherwise be independent. The Optical Confederation is delighted to announce that Peter Coe, ex-registrar of the General Optical Council, has agreed to take on this role. In future any complaints to the DEC will be referred straight to the IAS who, with the agreement of the parties concerned, will investigate, arbitrate and adjudicate in each case reporting back to the parties concerned. In addition each year the independent adjudicator will report to the DEC on the range of issues investigated and can make recommendations including on whether any changes are necessary to the code of practice for domiciliary eye care to make matters clearer. The independent adjudicator will not normally investigate:
Investigation by the independent adjudicator will not in any way affect the complainant’s rights to access these other routes for complaints if they wish. The code of practice for domiciliary eye care providers, was published by the Domiciliary Eyecare Committee in 2005 and updated in 2009.
Lone working guidance
Lone working is a risk that applies to professionals and other staff working alone in care or patients’ own homes, or, indeed, working alone in fixed premises. Lone working, therefore, is a workplace risk for which both employers and staff share responsibility. In many ways keeping safe when working alone is very similar to remaining safe in any other area of society or social interaction. Common sense should always apply and employers, practitioners and staff should always err on the side of caution.
Sight tests at home guide
The Optical Confederation has produced a guide to the domiciliary eye health service. The leaflet ‘Sight Tests at Home’ developed by the Optical Confederation’s Domiciliary Eyecare Committee, and also endorsed by the College of Optometrists and the Thomas Pocklington Trust, sets out to explain the key aspects of eye care for those who are unable to visit a high street optician unaccompanied due to a mental or physical disability.
The leaflet describes: