Year ahead 2014
General Optical Council eBulletin 19
March 2014

2014 look ahead

Samantha Peters, CEO and Registrar of the General Optical Council, gives her perspective on the upcoming year in optics.

In the past twelve months we’ve seen the Health and Social Care Act transform the landscape of healthcare in England, exciting new developments in the delivery of optical care in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the UK Government’s response to the Francis Inquiry.

A lot has changed in the last year, and 2014 will be no different.

For both regulators and the UK Governments there will be a lot more work arising from the Francis Inquiry. Although the optical professions were not directly implicated and the vast majority of registrants provide good care, there are still important lessons for us all from the tragic failings at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.

This year we hope to see the UK Law Commissions produce draft proposals to replace the Opticians Act and the legislation of other professional regulators. The review is intended to introduce more consistent and flexible legislation, and we look forward to providing our own input.

2014 also marks the second year of our enhanced CET scheme. After a very promising first year, which you can read about in this month’s article on CET, we look forward to seeing even more registrants taking part in peer-review activities, building on the almost 10,000 registrants who have already done so.

We will also be introducing some important changes of our own.

On 1 April our new Fitness to Practise Rules will come into force. These Rules are intended to speed up the complaints-handling process so we can better protect the public and reduce the burden of long investigations on registrants. You can find out more in this edition’s article on the Rules, and view my interview about them with Optometry Today.

This year we will also finalise our new strategic plan, continue working through our proposals on the future of student and business regulation, and revisit our approach to tackling illegal practice. Expect to hear more about these throughout the year.

There is a lot to do, but I’m confident that we can make solid progress, and I hope to work closely with the professions to make this year a successful one.

- Samantha Peters, Chief Executive and Registrar

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