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SOP 2.1 NHS Compliance (Scotland)


SOP 2.1

NHS Compliance - Scotland


General Ophthalmic Services


The majority of optical practices in Scotland provide General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) examinations to the public, in accordance with NHS Scotland GOS regulations.


In order to provide NHS services, each practice is required to uphold the standards and conditions set out in the GOS regulations. Failure to comply or uphold these conditions may result in a complaint being filed and an investigation by the local health board.


Ophthalmic List


In order for an optometrist to provide NHS services they must be included on the health board’s Ophthalmic List. Each optometrist will have their own unique Ophthalmic List Number (OLN) once registered to provide services. Application for an OLN number should be made to any health board where the optometrist intends to provide GOS work. Optometrists must also submit a current PVG Scheme Record Certificate with their application and other supporting documentation, including the competency certificate that is required to practice in Scotland. For further information on this process please see: Professionals - Optometry Scotland


The OLN number is required to complete and submit any GOS forms.


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


Changes to Ophthalmic Performers


Practice managers/Sharks are responsible for ensuring their optometrists keep the NHS updated to any changes to their ophthalmic list criteria. Each optometrist should be aware of how to inform the health board of any of these changes, to include:

  • Where services are provided (e.g., relocation)

  • Times that services are available (e.g., practice hours)

  • Personal information (e.g., name change, home address)

  • Declarations (e.g. criminal convictions, GOC/NHS investigations or cautions)


Optometrists should ensure these changes or updates are completed in a timely manner and inform their practice manager accordingly, where required.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD)


Sufficient CPD is required in order to maintain an Optometrist’s registration with the GOC and in order to maintain position on the Ophthalmic List. 36 points are required for Optometrists and 54 points for IP/AS/SP Optometrists. In Scotland, Optometrists are also required to complete an annual mandatory training exercise provided by NES (NHS Education for Scotland). If adequate CPD is not completed, GOC and Ophthalmic List registration can be revoked.


Understanding Scottish GOS rules


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


Terms of the GOS contract require full, accurate and contemporaneous records to be kept. NHS Scotland 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 the time frame provided.


Good record keeping is best practice to ensure effective handovers between all parties involved in patient care, from optometrist to dispensing colleague, for continuity of care.


GOS obligations must be carried out in a timely manner with a reasonable level of care and skill. 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.


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 occular health for disease, injury or abnormality, along with referral for medical treatment where it is indicated.

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).


Making accurate GOS claims will be explained in a subsequent SOP. In Scotland, all UK residents are entitled to eye examinations under GOS, however not all are entitled to a voucher for optical appliances. As the contractor, any HG practice with a GOS contract must ensure the person who is applying for GOS is eligible, with evidence provided, where applicable.


Changes to Opening Hours


Each practice will have their own NHS contract that outlines their opening hours. Under the terms of the NHS contract each practice must adhere to these opening hours without exception. If opening hours need to be temporarily changed from the NHS contract agreed hours, it is the responsibility of the practice to notify the health board with sufficient time prior to the temporary change. Please familiarise yourself with the process within your area.


Right to Choose an Optometrist


Under Scottish NHS contract obligations, where there is more than one optometrist available, the patient must be offered the choice of preferred optometrist. This choice must be given at the time of booking an appointment.


Diary Availability


Scottish NHS patients are required to have the same access to appointments as private patients. There must be no diary restrictions placed on booking, unless the optometrist assigned to that clinic cannot perform NHS services.


Clinical audit and inspections


Unlike England, practices in Scotland are not required by GOS regulations to perform audits. However, the NHS can randomly request 5 records to be audited centrally, to ensure practices are adhering to GOS regulations. There is also a requirement for 3-yearly practice inspections.


Scottish NHS Compliance Final Version 2.1
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