Chris Bennett: Standing up for what is right
Author: Chris Bennett
Good luck to the AIO in its attempts to get an explanation from Capita on the issue of late payments to optical practices (click here to read our news story.
It’s interesting that it’s left up to the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) to formally press Capita on this issue. The AIO is a minnow in optical body terms. (Read our Optician Optical Bodies Review). Its revenues of £80,000 are dwarfed by the AOP’s £7.6m, the College’s £6.7m or the GOC’s £6.5m but it refuses to partake in the code of omerta that seems to have befallen the bodies on NHS payments.
Worries first emerged about Capita’s involvement in GOS admin at the National Optometric Conference last autumn. It heard from Primary Care Support England (PCSE) which is responsible for GOS payments. At the meeting Jill Matthews, described as national director of engagement, a worrying job title in itself, explained how most of PCSE’s 50 offices would close. New forms would be ready sometime in the summer of 2016 but paperless working was ‘some way off’. Delegates were equally alarmed at how having to write each character in an individual box in readiness for digitisation would work and who on the optical stakeholder panel would have agreed such a move.
As Moneo points out this week discontent in the ranks has reached a crescendo. Other professions, suffering the same issues with Capita such as GPs, have been much more vocal on the issue.
If the inactivity from optical bodies is because those in the associations feel closer to, and have greater respect for, the civil servants and the government then a rethink needs to take place about where their priorities lie.