Please see some useful links below:
The College of Optometrists LINK
The AOP LINK
The College have also produced a well worded joint statement with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists about Viral Conjunctivitis and Covid-19 : LINK
If you provide extended services through Primary Eyecare Services (PES) then please read their guidance here: LINK
The NHS England SOPs for Primary care (link) have not changed since 5th March but expect an update any time now.
The GOC has issued a couple of important statements:
1) A joint statement with the other healthcare regulators recognising that professionals may need to depart from their usual procedures at this time : LINK
2) Reassurance that using professional judgement we can supply spectacles and contact lenses without first requiring the patient to attend an optical practice : LINK
The main GOC Covid-19 page which references these and other statements is here : LINK
Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) are working with NHSE on financial support and adjustment to contract requirements. Statement today : LINK.
This sector-specific advice sits on top of the Government advice to all citizens : LINK
This advises risk groups, those over 70 and those with underlying health conditions (details on the site) to follow social distancing measures.
Social distancing is explained here : LINK
It has been announced that Schools will provide childcare (not education) for children of health & social care workers so they can continue to work.
The guidance the schools are following is here : LINK
As yet there is no clarity on whether or not optical professionals are ‘essential workers’. For now I advise that if you can’t do without the childcare support in order to fulfil your healthcare role you should assert that you are a key worker, until we are provided with a clear position on this. The argument is especially strong if you provide MECS which we expect to be busier than usual. We are working on a model letter you can use to reply to schools which will come out via the optical representative organisations.