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SOP 2.1 NHS Compliance (england)



SOP 2.1

NHS Compliance



Sight Test


Mandatory services refer to those services provided under the GOS contract, which also incorporates the duty imposed in the Opticians Act. They include:


  • the testing of sight and the issue of a prescription for any optical appliance required,

  • the examination of ocular health for disease, injury or abnormality, along with referral for medical treatment where it is indicated

General Ophthalmic Services

To deliver primary NHS eye care services in England, practices must hold a General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) mandatory contract with the NHS and comply with the conditions and standards set out in the contract. Failure to comply with the contract conditions may result in a breach of contract notice and potentially loss of service provision.

The NHS GOS contract is specific to the premise address detailed in the contract ie services (sight tests) cannot be provided in alternative locations without the prior agreement of the regional NHS team. Additionally, the contract details the times and days which services must be provided. Should a practice not be able to provide services on the dates/times detailed in the contract, the regional team must be informed in advance.

NHS GOS mandatory contracts are managed by the HGHQ.

In order to provide NHS services, each practice is required to uphold the standards and conditions set out in the GOS contract. Failure to comply or uphold these conditions may result in a complaint being filed. Any resultant investigation by the Local Area Team or NHS may then put the contract at risk.


Ophthalmic Performers List (OPL)


In order for an Optometrist to provide NHS services they must be included on the Performers List and are subsequently referred to as “performers”. Each Optometrist will have their own unique OPL number once registered to provide services. Application for inclusion on the Performers List (and subsequent OPL number issue) can be made to NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) England. This process also includes a DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check and inclusion on the update service.  It should be noted that applications can take up to 12 weeks and Pre Reg students should start this process ahead of the expected qualification time to avoid delays in being able to provide GOS. The OPL number is required to complete and submit any GOS forms and thus Optometrists must not provide NHS GOS services without this number.


A performer may be removed from this list if they have not performed GOS during a 12-month period in England. Once removed, a performer may not undertake GOS work before re-listing is completed.


It is the performers or Sharks responsibility to ensure their details are up to date including personal information and any declarations eg GOC investigations. Any changes should be report to NHS via Julie Gooden


Understanding GOS rules


It is essential to have) a good working knowledge of the GOS contract to ensure the conditions of these contracts and the standards expected are upheld.


Record Keeping


The GOS contract requires that full, accurate and contemporaneous records to be kept. NHS England are legally entitled to inspect records relating to GOS patients, including any GOS and/or private records relating to that patient. These records should be supplied within a 30 days time frame.


Good record keeping is best practice to ensure effective handovers between all parties involved in patient care, from Optometrist to Optical Assistant, for continuity of care. At HG we ensure record keeping standards by completing a Record Card Audit every year.


The practice and equipment used for the provision of GOS must be suitable, sufficient, and reasonable to the needs of the patient. Appropriate and proportional arrangements for infection control and decontamination must be adhered to.


If referral is required, consent for the referral should be gained from the patient, they should be given a statement confirming the referral, and the patient’s GP practice should be informed.


Any optical appliance spectacles or otherwise, should be supplied to British Standards (BS 2738 Part 3:2004).


Opening Hours


Each practice will have their own NHS GOS contract that details the times and days which GOS sight testing services must be provided. These days / times must be adhered to without exception unless a variation with the regional team has been agreed in advance. Permanent changes to days/times should be managed by HGHQ. If opening hours need to be temporarily changed from the NHS contract agreed hours, it is the responsibility of the practice to notify the NHS Regional Team with sufficient time prior to the temporary change. Sharks should be familiar with how temporary variations are managed locally.

Should practices vary the days / times that GOS sight tests are provided on a week-by-week basis, the NHS GOS contract can stipulate “GOS sight tests available by appointment between {insert opening hours}” which allows for weekly variation. 


Right to Choose an Optometrist


Where there is more than one Optometrist available, the patient must be offered the choice of their preferred Optometrist. This choice must be offered at the time of booking an appointment.


Diary Availability


NHS England patients are required to have the same access to appointments as private patients within the days/times stipulated in the Opening Hours clause (see above). There must be no diary restrictions (eg children) placed on booking during GOS contracted hours, unless the Optometrist assigned to that clinic cannot perform NHS services.


Quality in Optometry (QiO)


Quality in Optometry is an audit of the terms and conditions of the NHS GOS England contract. Record Keeping and Infection Control standards are other NHS contract compliance audits which are detailed in SOP X and Y


The QiO audit should be completed every 3 years and following any directors change or change to premise layout. and the NHS notified of its completion, with any issues actioned and resolved within one month (28 days).


Every practice should have their own QiO login account in order to work through each checklist section and submit to the NHS regional team.


 QiO covers the following areas:

·       GOS contract compliance

·       NHS standard contract

·       Data Security and Protection

·       Practitioners

·       Staff







NHS Compliance SOP 2.1 FV
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