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Profession gets clarity for firm response to PCTs flawed demands.

A LINE in the sand has been drawn by the profession's representatives on the vexed question of clinical governance demands from a number of PCTs and Health Boards. For practitioners who have been asked to provide details, the optical bodies have stated that these requests should be 'firmly resisted', and have set out a 250-word suggestion (see column) which optical professionals can send to PCTs or Health Boards as a written response.

In a detailed letter to their members, the optical bodies point out that under the various guises of Standards for Better Health, the Care Quality Commission and the GOS contract, some PCTs and Health Boards have been 'erroneously trying to impose extensive clinical governance requirements (often developed for other contractor professions) and clinical governance reporting regimes on GOS contractors. These should be politely but firmly resisted and taken up with your LOC.'

The problem stems, continues the letter, from the Department of Health which has imposed a responsibility on PCTs / Health Boards to implement clinical governance and report annually to the Care Quality Commission on Standards for Better Health, whilst refusing to pay any fee for clinical governance or clinical governance reporting in optics.

This, crucially, is different for other professions where fees, for example for clinical audit, and "quality" have been incorporated into their base fees.

In its letter ABDO/AOP/FODO/LOCSU that the optical professions 'fully embrace and adhere to the principles of clinical governance. Indeed, the optical professional and representative bodies have produced our own toolkit for clinical governance, Quality in Optometry'.


However, the group states that clinical governance is not a contractual or other legal requirement on GOS contractors and, unlike other professions, the optical profession is not remunerated through GOS fees for it--and that the Doll has confirmed that there is no clinical governance clause in the GOS regulations or contract.

There are duties in the new contract on which it would not be unreasonable for PCTs to request information, the bodies point out, for example in respect of infection control and decontamination arrangements.

Nevertheless, for requests for information beyond reasonable contractual requirements, the optical bodies recommend that 'contractors should only comply if they are paid adequate local fees (or equivalent) agreed in advance by their PCTs/Health Boards'.

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Publication:Optometry Today
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 27, 2009
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