Building mechanisms of engagement to ensure local eye care providers inform and collaborate with healthcare decision-makers will be a key challenge to the smooth transition from NHS England commissioned primary optometry services to the integrated care boards (ICBs) system, according to a report by non-profit NHS Confederation.
Commissioning of pharmaceutical, general ophthalmic services and dentistry (POD) has been allocated to 42 ICBs from April 1, 2023, as part of reforms initiated by the Health and Social Care Act 2022. This aimed to improve services by creating a locally led system with a stronger voice and increased autonomy for primary eye care providers, with support from regional and national healthcare.
A report by the NHS Confederation outlined lessons learnt by nine early adopter ICBs, including immediate transition challenges, such as establishing effective relationships building between NHS systems and frontline providers; addressing capacity issues; ensuring adequate governance; and access to data and understanding commissioner and provider data requirements.
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