GOS18 Referrals for Cataracts and Optegra/SpaMedica (or other private cataract provider)
You may begin receiving GOS18 referrals for cataracts where the optometrist has indicated that the patients wants to go to Optegra/SpaMedica or other private cataract provider. This is usually based on the expectation that these providers can see patients very quickly, even in the current climate.
We would just like to remind you that these providers do not hold local contracts with the CCGs, which means we have no relationship with the provider and no oversight of their quality or governance processes. In addition, we have no agreement on the management of complications or emergency support whereas with commissioned services, we have agreements between providers and we are able to monitor instances of adverse events.
Naturally, we do support GPs to have a conversation with a patient who wishes to exercise their right to choose an alternative provider but this must be done through ERS. In most cases, the Optometrist does not have access to ERS or the full medical history of the patient. We are finding that a number of providers professing short waits do not accept all patients and published waits do not translate to treatment times.
As part of the CCGs restoration and recovery work, we are commissioning additional capacity from local providers where we have existing contractual relationships to bring down waiting times in a fair and equitable way.
Locally we commission cataract surgery from our main Acute Trusts and Practice Plus Group.
We have asked the LOC to communicate with local optometrists and ask that they do not to make a provider recommendation on the GOS18 forms. They can of course inform patients of their right to choose but putting a provider on the GOS18 may raise patient expectations, which cannot be fulfilled, and it cannot currently be a fully informed choice.
We anticipate the LOC’s continued support and trust this is helpful in understanding why we ask everybody to refer via the locally commissioned pathways.