Issue 22, December 2014
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Standards 110

GOC standards review

All feedback is now in following the call for evidence that we published in July to publicly launch our standards strategic review. 

 

At their public meeting on 12 November, Council heard that there was broad support for the review with the overall feedback from the consultation positive about the objectives of the project.

 

Many responses noted how scopes of practice would change in the future as a result of a number of factors. These include anticipated changes in technology, an ageing and growing population and increasing financial pressure on the NHS. 

 

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CET reminder

All registrants are reminded that, as part of our new enhanced CET scheme, they must obtain and accept the annual target number of CET points by 31 December 2014. This target will be six points, unless you joined part-way through 2014. 

 

We review registrants' CET activity at the end of each year, and registrants who have not recorded the minimum target points will be required to explain why this is the case. The Registrar will review this information when considering your application for retention. It is therefore very important that you meet this requirement. 

 

If you have completed CET activities but not yet accepted the points or need to find CET activities in your local area, you can do both of these by logging into MyGOC. 

 

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CET 110

2015/16 retention fees

Council has set the registration fee for 2015/16 at £310. This represents an increase of £20 for optometrists, dispensing opticians and bodies corporate.

 

The low income fee, for registrants earning under £12,000, will be £210 (maintaining the £100 discount) and we have frozen the fee for students at £25.

 

The new fees will come into effect on 1 April 2015.

 

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Retention 110

Illegal practice strategy

We have set out our strategy for tackling 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.

 

Alistair Bridge, Director of Policy and Communications, said: “We will now be developing a multi-pronged approach to tackling illegal practice. We are particularly concerned about the unlawful supply of contact lenses and as well as dealing with complaints, we want to raise awareness among consumers of how to gain the benefits of wearing contact lenses without compromising the health of their eyes. This will require coordinated action with stakeholders, combining our collective resources and insight.”

 

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Illegal practice 110

Scottish referendum

In September Scotland voted ‘no’ to independence, but the GOC is still very much alive to the differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK in how optometric practice is delivered. GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Samantha Peters, talks to eBulletin about the developing landscape in Scotland.

 

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Samantha 110

News in brief

Duty of Candour

 

We have, along with seven other regulators, jointly signed a statement pledging to put openness and honesty at the heart of healthcare. The ‘duty of candour’ for optometrists and dispensing opticians will mean they must be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress.

 

We will include the duty in our new standards of practice, set to be published next year after a full public consultation.

 

To find out more about the duty of candour, please visit our website.

 

New MOptom course

 

We have granted provisional approval for Hertfordshire University to run a masters in optometry degree course. Up to 50 students will be allowed to start the course in September 2015.

 

Granting provisional approval is only the first step in the accreditation of new courses, with full approval only granted when the course has been running for a period of time and we are satisfied that the course meets our standards for students to achieve full registration.

 

For further information, please visit our website.

 

OCCS

 

Council heard a presentation from the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) at its recent meeting on 12 November. The presentation showed that the OCCS has concluded 94% of its 285 referrals within a 45 day period.  In total, 97% of cases were successfully mediated by the OCCS.

 

The OCCS mediates all consumer complaints raised by members of the public, patients and optical professionals or practices regulated by us. Nockolds Solicitors deliver the service for us under a three year contract, which started on 1 April 2014.

 

Optical sector report

 

Council was presented a draft report on optical sector developments and trends and the report will now be finalised and published on our website. The report looks at how society is changing, including changes in demographics which will impact on the optical sector; developments within the optical sector across the UK; and developments within the broader regulatory and health environment.

 

The draft optical sector report is available to view on our website

 

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