Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Following recent optometry contract negotiations between the Welsh Government, NHS Wales and Optometry Wales, I am pleased to confirm I have agreed additional optometry services.
Last year (September 2022) I agreed the new optometry contract and associated financial costs. This represents a significant reform of optometry services, aligned to the commitments set out in the Future Approach for Optometry Services, founded on the key principles of prudent healthcare, and aligned to the Primary Care Model and the strategic direction set in Programme for Government.
The recent consultation on optometry contract reform sought views on the proposals to expand the services delivered by primary care optometry practices and launch the new optometry contract. Taking account of these views, two additional fees for the domiciliary service and additional voucher for children during development periods for vision was agreed. Further policy areas were discussed and agreed which will be developed over the coming months.
The additional services will enhance the clinical services delivered by optometrists, working together with hospital eye departments and will provide NHS Wales with assurance, delivery will be equitable, consistent, and timely for citizens across Wales.
We have moved forward at pace with optometry contract reform over the last 12 months, through robust dialogue, discussion and collaborative working with NHS Wales and Optometry Wales. This has ensured we reached the best outcomes for all stakeholders during negotiations.
These additional optometry services will enable community optometrists to work at the top of their licence and ensure Wales remains at the cutting edge of the UK, leading reform clinically from a patient centred perspective, and being the first UK nation to upskill the profession fully to embrace the delivery of clinical services in primary care optometry.