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Well done, LOCSU.

ELSEWHERE IN OT you will see news of the success of LOCs in Cheshire and Stockport to complete NHS Any Qualified Provider (AQP) procurement applications (page 10). In the coming months the LOCs will provide a community ocular hypertensive monitoring service in the first area and a minor eye conditions service in the second.

The significance of this success is two-fold--firstly, the expansion of community eye services in England, and, secondly, the use of LOC companies as the vehicle for the bids.

Lest we minimise the importance of this achievement, let me paraphrase the words of Alan Tinger, LOCSU's chairman: 'the complex application process in AQP procurement is difficult for individual practices to navigate; whereas an LOC company can be used as a contracting vehicle for a consortium of practices'.

LOCSU's creation of companies for all LOCs in 2008 produced puzzlement or indifference at the time. Now four years later, their creation--ready for single provider commissioning--has been justified. LOCSU's action has turned out to be far-sighted and crucial.

As Dharmesh Patel, one of LOCSU's optical leads, puts it: "AQP status opens the door to a better, closer relationship with local commissioners and to more community services contracts"

Richard Carswell

AOP interim chief executive

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Title Annotation:COMMENT; Local Optical Committee Support Unit
Author:Carswell, Richard
Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 14, 2012
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