Risks in the optical professions
General Optical Council eBulletin 44
October 2019

Risks in the optical professions

Earlier this month we published our latest research into risks in the optical professions, which identifies the current and future risks posed to patients and the public.

We commissioned Enventure Research, an independent research agency, to carry out the research which included an online registrant survey, focus groups and in-depth interview with practitioners and stakeholders. The research also analysed GOC Fitness to Practise (FTP) data and information from the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS).

The FTP and OCCS analysis focused on data between April 2016 and April 2018 and consisted of 376 FTP cases and 2,911 OCCS complaints.

Analysis of the FTP cases revealed that the most common allegations amongst optometrists related to:

  • Incorrect or missed diagnosis
  • Inappropriate or missed referrals
  • Failure to conduct appropriate tests or examinations
  • Incorrect/inappropriate/incomplete prescriptions provided
  • Inaccurate/inadequate advice provided
  • Poor record keeping

Allegations relating to dispensing opticians tend to relate to misconduct, with allegations about their performance or competence being less common.

The OCCS data showed that almost half of complaints received (43%) related to ‘goods and service’, which includes errors in prescription, dispensing, outcomes of laser eye surgery and prescriptions placed in one practice and dispensed in another. 28% of complaints related to ‘customer care’, including complaint handling and delays in supply.

51% of FTP cases related to multiple/chain practices and 37% related to independent practices.

The full research report and infographic can be found on our website.

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