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GOS contract management functions to move to Integrated Care Boards from April 2022

23 July 2021

NHS England has confirmed to the OFNC that General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) will remain a national contract with terms, fees and grants continuing to be negotiated nationally.

The Health and Care Bill, currently before Parliament, will change NHS commissioning structures in England, including the establishment of new Integrated Care Boards (ICBs).

NHS England has announced plans to transfer all primary care contract management functions from NHS England to ICBs from April 2022.

This means ICBs will hold the contracts instead of NHS England regional teams. It will not affect how the GOS service is delivered; providers will continue to provide a GOS sight testing service as now, and patients will access GOS in the same way.

Commenting on the announcement, OFNC chair Gordon Ilett said: “There is no appetite anywhere in the system for 42 variations of the same GOS sight-testing and case-finding contract. This announcement builds on a constructive meeting OFNC held with NHS England earlier this month which confirmed that, when as anticipated, GOS contact management functions transfer to ICBs, the national GOS contract terms, fees and grants will still be negotiated nationally. This is the most efficient model for both the NHS and contractors and means there will be no material changes for GOS contractors or practitioners.”

He added: “We hope that ICBs will add value by commissioning extended primary eye care services at scale. This will help tackle the unwarranted variation caused by the small footprints of Clinical Commissioning Groups. We will continue to work closely with NHS England and DHSC to ensure the new arrangements work well for contractors, practitioners and above all patients.”

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