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Reviewing our approach

We are currently reviewing our approach to regulation in several areas, including how we regulate students and optical businesses, and how we tackle illegal practice. More information can be found below.

Illegal practice

Business regulation

Student regulation

 

Illegal practice

From March to June 2014, we consulted on how we should tackle illegal practice in the optical sector, such as online contact lens sales that do not comply with UK law, the unlawful supply of cosmetic contact lenses and the misuse of protected titles.

As a result of the responses gathered during the consultation, we have set out our strategy to tackle this issue. We will take a proactive, multi-pronged approach to reducing public harm through its new strategy. These actions include:

  • raising awareness among contact lens wearers of the need to follow aftercare advice and have regular check-ups;
  • developing a code of practice for online contact lens suppliers;
  • acting on complaints in line with its prosecution protocol; and
  • strengthening its collaboration with other bodies with a role in enforcement and promoting public health.

Our full statement, released 17 November 2014, can be found below:

Acrobat Reader icon Statement on the outcome of the consultation on our illegal practice strategy - November 2014

If you wish to make a complaint about illegal practice in the optical sector, please complete the illegal practice complaint form here

If you have any queries, please contact Marie Bunby, Policy Manager, at mbunby@optical.org.

 

Business regulation

From July to October 2013 we consulted on proposed changes to how optical businesses are regulated. Following the consultation, Council approved the proposals at its meeting on 14 November 2013. 

The main proposals are:

  • to change the current system whereby a business' name and structure determine whether it has to register with us to one based on whether a business is carrying out restricted functions; and
  • to introduce a revised code of conduct for business registrants more targeted at the identified risks associated with business practices that we have identified through our research. 

The changes are subject to a change in legislation, for which we continue to make the case.

Our full statement on the changes, released 9 December 2013, can be read below:
Acrobat Reader icon Business regulation statement 9 December 2013

We have also published the report we commissioned from Europe Economics into the risks associated with optical business practices:
Acrobat Reader icon Optical Business Regulation report

If you have any queries, please contact Marie Bunby, Policy Manager, at mbunby@optical.org.
 

Student regulation

From July to October 2013 we also consulted on the future of student regulation.

Currently we are the only UK healthcare regulator that requires all students to be registered. The proposals under consideration would replace the current arrangements with a system of student regulation without registration.

At its meeting on 14 November 2013, Council decided to allow more time for research and discussion with stakeholders before reaching a final decision. 

In particular, we will explore how we can address concerns raised during the consultation and whether alternative options to the proposed approach, such as continuing to register students during their pre-registration period, would be preferable. 

Council will make a final decision at a future meeting.

Our full statement, released 16 December 2013, can be read below:
Acrobat Reader icon Student regulation statement 16 December 2013

If you have any queries, please contact Angharad Jones, Policy Manager, at ajones@optical.org.

 

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About registration

Read about the importance of checking an optician's registration