Statement on the re-opening of optical practices during the COVID-19 emergency

We have published a statement on the re-opening of optical practices during the COVID-19 emergency.

In summary, the statement covers the following:

  • NHS eye care services are suspended for all but urgent, essential or emergency care, pending further announcements by the NHS in the four UK nations.
  • Opticians in the UK have always been exempted from closure. Opticians were listed as an exemption in the guidance entitled Closing certain businesses and venues in England. In our view this means that registrants are able to deliver private eye care including private sight tests / eye examinations and aftercare appointments.
  • Practices must follow Government guidance for businesses to work safely during the COVID-19 emergency period to ensure that patients and staff are safe. This should ensure appropriate COVID-19 screening checks and all applicable infection prevention and control measures are in place, including but not limited to cleaning and decontamination, social distancing and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • It has not yet been determined by the NHS when NHS services will resume, and therefore those practices working under GOS contracts will not be able to provide NHS services beyond essential, urgent or emergency care until such time as the position is clarified.
  • Practices which are open (or are looking to re-open following closure) must ensure that they conduct a full risk assessment before doing so, assess each patient’s situation on a case-by-case basis before offering care, and strictly comply with their obligations under the Standards of Practice and Standards for Optical Businesses in relation to infection control and patient safety.

See our COVID-19 page for our other guidance statements, frequently asked questions and government guidance.