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GOC agrees proposals for revalidation


At the Council meeting on 23 September,Revalidation members agreed revised principles and requirements for the CET scheme after 2012. These principles will now form the basis of a revalidation scheme for optometrists and dispensing opticians which will start in January 2013.

Changes to the scheme will ensure that registrants complete CET which is relevant to their scope of practice, is undertaken regularly and involves some interaction with peers.

“We believe that these changes will deliver a scheme which is proportionate to risk and protects the public by ensuring registrants keep up to date in all relevant competencies.” said Linda Kennaugh, Director of Education. “We will give support and guidance to registrants ahead of the new scheme so they know what is expected of them.”


Spotlight on the proposals

The three year CET cycle and 36 point requirement will remain but registrants will be expected to earn a minimum of six points per year. A system of annual checks will be used to remind registrants who are not on target. Any registrants who have not met the expected level and range of CET activity at the end of the 3 year cycle will be expected to justify why this is the case.

Registrants will be expected to do CET across all relevant competency areas and in a range of modalities. This will be documented in a CET activity development plan which should reflect individual scope of practice.

A wider scale of points will be introduced to reflect the nature of the activity. For example, interactive CET such as peer review, and clinical skills CET will carry a greater points value than attendance at lectures or text-based distance learning activities. There will be a limit to the proportion of points which can be gained through text-based distance learning per cycle.

A progress bar will enable registrants to track which competencies they have covered and which are outstanding. There will also be a facility to provide feedback on CET activity when accepting pending points.

Optometrists will be expected to complete one peer review activity per cycle involving patient records and decision making.

Contact lens opticians will no longer be required to obtain additional specialist CET points in addition to their general points requirement. Instead at least six general points per year must be obtained in contact lens CET and registrants will have to undertake one contact lens related peer review activity per cycle.

Every six years, optometrists and contact lens opticians who are working in practice will have to demonstrate that they have undertaken a clinical skills assessment in ocular abnormalities and ocular examination. This will carry CET points counting towardsthe points total, but will only be necessary every other cycle.

The shortfall period will be abolished. Instead, the Registrar will have discretionary powers to apply conditions to registration. This may be used to enable Registrants who do not meet the GOC expectations as to the nature of CET to be undertaken, to address this. For example, those who are not working in practice but require GOC registration for other reasons (eg company directors, academics, those on maternity or career breaks or suffering serious illness) and are unable to meet the requirement to undertake clinical skills assessments or peer review of patient records or clinical decision making. .In any case, all registrants, regardless of role will still be expected to gain a minimum of 36 points over 3 years and these must be obtained across all competencies.

The proposals were informed by research carried out by Europe Economics on risks in optical practice, and by feedback we obtained at stakeholder events with registrants, CET providers and other interested parties.