About Buckinghamshire LOC
Established by the NHS (Amendment) Act 1949, Local Optical Committees (LOCs) were formed to be the official representatives for all GOS contractors and practitioners within their area, and to work with their local CCGs and NHS regional teams on matters relating to NHS optical services. LOCs are funded by a statutory levy on GOS sight tests in their locality.
Bucks Local Optical Committee covers the whole of the county of Buckinghamshire, its area mirroring that covered by the following Clinical Commissioning Groups: Milton Keynes CCG* and Buckinghamshire CCG.
On 1st July 2022, integrated care systems (ICSs) became legally established through the Health and Care Act 2022, and CCGs were closed down.
Each integrated care system (ICS) has two statutory elements, an integrated care partnership (ICP)and integrated care board(ICB). The ICB is responsible for planning the delivery of NHS services to improve the health of the population, including deciding how resources are allocated.
In line with the government’s plans to integrate health and social care, Buckinghamshire CCG has become part of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire West ICS, known as ‘BOB’, and Milton Keynes CCG is now part of Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes ICS, known as ‘BLMK’.
The LOC’s primary functions are: to ensure the smooth running of General Ophthalmic Services within Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes; to liaise with NHS England and ICBs, or other relevant bodies, to help shape eye care services that meet local need; and to consult on eye health pathways and matters affecting optical professionals. In addition, it works to help optometrists and dispensing opticians keep abreast of key changes, and offer support to help them meet their duties.
It also sees its function as maintaining high standards of practice and runs many educational courses. For this purpose it is registered with the GOC as a CPD provider.
Dispensing opticians who are not contractors are also welcome and encouraged to engage with the LOC and attend events.
Main objectives of Bucks LOC
- To advise the NHS Regional Teams and Clinical Commissioning Groups relevant to Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes on matters affecting optometrists undertaking General Ophthalmic Services and community services in the area.
- To enable optometrists undertaking General Ophthalmic Services and community services in the area to formulate collective views on the administration of the services, and in particular to make suggestions for their improvement and to transmit them to the NHS Regional Teams and CCGs.
- To disseminate information about General Ophthalmic Services among optometrists and dispensing opticians in the area, and to assist individual optometrists to understand and to comply with their terms of service.
- To consider any complaint made to them by any optometrist against any other optometrist practising in the area for which the Committee is constituted, involving any question of the efficiency of the General Ophthalmic Services or community services.
- To advise the NHS Regional Teams and CCGs on matters affecting optometrists in relation to NHS Trusts, the scope and efficiency of those services, and in connection with the provision of ophthalmic services from health centres, clinics and the like.
- To help develop ophthalmic services in the area and to enhance the standing of optometrists and dispensing opticians, and their professional development.
- To organise educational events for continuing education and training in all areas of practice as seen fit.