For the first time since 2015, the Department of Health and Social care has said it will increase GOS sight test fees, GOS CET allowances and pre-registration supervision grants from next month.

The 1.9% rise takes the current payment of £21.31 up to £21.71 – an increase of 40p.

The fees for GOS sight tests in England were last increased in April 2015 by 1%. Since then, the sector has seen five consecutive years with no fee increases, while contractors’ costs have continued to rise, with a raft of infection control measures in place following the coronavirus pandemic.

Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee chair Paul Carroll said that while the increase was welcome, it did not fully address the erosion of GOS fees by inflation in recent years.

‘After five years without any increase to reflect the rising costs of care, a 1.9% increase in GOS fees now will understandably disappoint a loyal and hard-working sector, which has gone the extra mile in keeping eye care services running over the past year when hospital care was often just not available,’ said Carroll.

‘Nevertheless, we take it as a signal that the Government and NHS England have at last understood the value of primary eye care and the need to move towards fairer treatment of GOS contractors in the future. We hope this is the first small step on a journey to a properly funded national sight-testing infrastructure to help meet growing eye health need, focus on prevention and deliver more care outside hospital closer to home.’

For domiciliary sight tests, fees are now £38.27 for the first and second exams and £9.58 for the third and subsequent test.