Quality in Optometry England Practice Manuals
A Practice Manual can be a useful way of drawing together all the information required by the clinical governance process. This section contains a brief description of such a manual and explains its many uses. In all cases where there is a sample QiO policy there is a link.
In beginning to develop policies, procedures and guidance, the question arises of where to keep them. Some practices have various scribbled notes on how a bit of software works; notes stuck on the filing cabinet as to how long records should be kept and complaints procedures, guidelines and protocols scattered in various filing systems. These can often prove elusive just when they are needed for reference.
A practice manual can be a central source of reference for many of these things. Whilst it will certainly help in drawing together information required of clinical governance, it can be very much more than that. It becomes useful in its own right, and the fact that it allows many clinical governance boxes to be ticked is simply a bonus.
For instance, do you have readily available "help" files for locums that tell them:
- How equipment operates?
- Local referral protocols?
- Shared care protocols?
If not, do you not feel that locums would find this useful? One practice lists the shorthand of every practitioner and what it means and keeps a copy in every consulting room for reference.
Do you have written policies available for all staff to view, e.g.
- If a referral letter goes missing, it is helpful to have both a post book that shows it was posted and a policy which says that a post book is used
Red eye policy
- What advice does a non-professional staff member give if there is no optometrist on the premises?
Data management policy
- Backup procedures
- How long do you keep records?
Policies can be very useful if a staff member is away and someone else is required to do a job. A policy should be written in the first instance by the member of staff who carries out the procedure. So next time they do the reminder letter run on the computer, have them write down each step as they do it -- very useful if that staff member leaves.
Do you have College Guidelines, Infection Control guidance, early re-test codes, voucher values and so on, easily available for staff members to view?
Do you have details of professional staff GOC registration (just print it yourself off the GOC website) and CET details (get the staff member to print their own off the Vantage site)?
Other items that might be included (not all items below are relevant to GOS contracting):
- Sample staff contracts
- Disciplinary procedures
- Policy on providing clinical and Rx information
- Especially to 3rd parties -- e.g. verification of CL specification
- Complaints procedure
- Chaperone policy (easily personalised from the AOP version)
- Policies are available here: https://www.qualityinoptometry.co.uk/policy/
- Local referral protocols
- GOC referral rules
- Local shared care protocols
- College guidelines
- AOP sight test protocol
- Freedom of Information publication scheme
- Details of any audits you have undertaken
All collected together and filed for easy reference this becomes a valuable source of reference for everyone in the practice. In addition, you will find that you have met many clinical governance objectives in the process.
Try the following section headings as a start:
- Sample Contracts
- Practice help (for locums)
- Test Chart
- Slit Lamp
- Sundry Equipment
- Local Referral
- Pricing: Spectacles, contact lenses
- Information Sheets available in the practice
- Standard policies
- Red eye policy (for reception staff)
- Spectacle Rx, CL Specification and Care Sheets and CL expiry
- Data Policy, Backup and Record Retention
- Chaperone Policy
- Complaints Procedure
- Critical Incident Reporting
- Data or record management policy
- Professional Guidelines
- Local shared care protocols
- GOC and CET records
- Freedom of Information Publication scheme
- Business Continuity Policy
- Practice audit
- . Sample practice stationery
- Sight test records
- Rx forms
- CL records
- CL specification forms
- Health and Safety