Health and Social Care Act
General Optical Council Promoting good eye care, protecting the public
Health and Social Care Bill becomes law

Health Act-webThe Health and Social Care Act 2012 has now come into effect after receiving Royal Assent. The Act makes significant changes to the NHS in England.

For optics, the key development is that the new NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for commissioning General Ophthalmic Services.

The Board will become fully operational from April 2013, when PCTs and Strategic Health Authorities are set to be formally scrapped.
Other eyecare services may be commissioned by the new GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The new CCGs will begin the authorisation process in October, and could become statutory organisations from April 2013.

The importance of eye health has been recognised in the Public Health Outcomes Framework for England, where the Government has identified reducing preventable sight loss as one of its performance indicators for the NHS.

However until the details of the implementation are finalised, the full implications of the new Act for the optical sector will not be fully clear.
Parliament re-opened on 16 April and ministers now have to begin finalising the finer details of implementation.

GOC chief executive Samantha Peters said, “The changes will have a significant effect on the optical landscape. We look forward to contributing to how the NHS evolves.

“It will be particularly important to see how the Commissioning Board’s responsibilities and relationships evolve, how the financial regulator Monitor operates, how Local Education and Training Boards and Health and Wellbeing boards work, and how Local Optical Committees operate within the new system.”

More information on the Health and Social Care Act is available on the Parliamentary website and on the Department of Health website.


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