Dear practitioners in the East & North Herts CCG (E&NHCCG) area,
I wanted to give you some clarification on the current situation regarding the COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES).
This is the direct communication we have received from Herts Valleys CCG:
"In Herts Valleys, we already have commissioned CHEC to provide a similar service for low to medium risk patients in our area. CHEC have also communicated their ability and capacity to review emergency eye patients as they have their own community hospital like setting with an operating theatre in Watford INTU. We have discussed this option with WHHT and agreed that this is not needed at this time."
(WHHT = West Herts Hospital Trust)
At present, it does not appear that CUES will be commissioned in either of the Hertfordshire CCG areas.
As you are aware, due to the coronavirus epidemic and in line with the government guidelines, no 'routine' Optometry appointments should be taking place. However, some practices are still open for the triaging of a patient's emergency and urgent eye concerns.
Since the General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) contract covers routine eyecare (which has ceased for the moment), the new GOS fee (monthly average payment) should ONLY be used to offer advice and guidance for GOS eligible patients. It should not be used to cover the costs for providing care to private patients on the phone or face to face. Any of these private patients who require urgent or emergency care could be referred to an Ophthalmology Department at one of the hospitals, unless they are willing to pay for your time.
In many other CCG areas, the CCGs are funding patient's urgent and emergency care using MECS, CUES or a similar type of service.
For E&NH practitioners, if you or your patient needs emergency advice and guidance, please remember you can also contact Lister directly on 01438 288266 THIS NUMBER IS FOR PRACTITIONERS ONLY. Please refer to the Herts LOC website (https://www.loc-net.org.uk/hertfordshire/) for their current referral guidelines and also for contact details of other hospitals in the area such as Princess Alexander, Harlow or Chase Farm, Enfield.
Kind regards, Jane
Chair Herts LOC