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Policy and research papers

One of our strategic priorities is an improved evidence base for making regulatory decisions. We want to ensure that our work is informed by an understanding of the public’s perspective and how optical care for patients is changing. On this page we will publish policy and research papers that contribute to this work.

Registrant survey 2016
Illegal practice
Research into behaviour of contact lens wearers
Standards
Public perceptions
Stakeholder perceptions survey
Optical sector report
Adjustable focus spectacles

 

Summary of Responses to the GOC's Education Strategic Review 2017

In December 2016 we published a call for evidence on our Education Strategic Review asking for feedback on a total of 17 wide-ranging questions about the future of eye care delivery and the implications of these changes for the education of optical professions. We received a total of 55 responses to our call for evidence between 15 December 2016 and 16 March 2017. 

We have now published a Summary of the Responses to the call for evidence, along with an annex of all responses where consent was given for publication.

Acrobat Reader icon Summary of Responses to the GOC's Education Strategic Review 2017

Acrobat Reader icon ANNEX ONE - Education Strategic Review consultation responses public

 

 Registrant survey 2016

In 2016 we surveyed over 4,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical students. We will be releasing the research in three volumes.

Volume 1: The Future of the Optical Professions
Volume 2: Challenges in the Workplace
Volume 3: The GOC's Role and Regulatory Performance
 

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Registrant Survey 2016 - Full Report

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Registrant Survey 2016 - Volume 1

Acrobat Reader icon Volume 1 Infographic

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Registrant Survey 2016 - Volume 2

Acrobat Reader icon Volume 2 Infographic

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Registrant Survey 2016 - Volume 3

Acrobat Reader icon Volume 3 Infographic (a)

Acrobat Reader icon Volume 3 Infographic (b)

 
 Illegal practice

As part of our illegal practice strategy we commissioned research from Europe Economics assessing the health risks associated with illegal optical practice. The report was published in March 2014.

Acrobat Reader icon Europe Economics report: health risk assessment for illegal optical practice

As part of our illegal practice strategy we committed to further research and intelligence-gathering.

 Research into behaviour of contact lens wearers

As the Europe Economics report had identified safety issues relating to the online purchase of contact lenses we commissioned BMG Research to help us to understand more about the behaviour of contact lens wearers. We published the research report in February 2016.

Acrobat Reader icon Contact lens survey research report

Contact lens research - slides from February Council meeting presentation Contact lens research - slides from February Council meeting presentation

Contact Lens Cross Breaks Data Tables Contact Lens Cross Breaks Data Tables

BMG Research has also produced an article on its website with data tables that can be interrogated. The link to the article is available here: http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/general-optical-council-contact-lenses/

If any further analysis or use of this data is made, please ensure that the GOC and the BMG research report are appropriately referenced, and that the information used is in the public interest.

 Standards

As part of our consultation on developing new standards for the optical profession, we commissioned Collaborate Research to conduct a stakeholder consultation on our proposed standards of practice. The consultation report was published in July 2015.

Acrobat Reader icon Standards for optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical students - Consultation report


 Public perceptions

As part of our research strategy we have commissioned two pieces of research into public perceptions of the optical professions and the General Optical Council:

Acrobat Reader icon Public perceptions research 2016

Acrobat Reader icon Public perceptions research 2015

 

 Stakeholder perceptions survey

In August 2016 we surveyed senior people from 30 of our key stakeholders about their perceptions of the GOC and their views on the future of the optical professions:

Acrobat Reader icon Stakeholder Perceptions Survey 2016


 Optical sector report

Each year we carry out desk-based research on recent developments in the optical sector and the wider environment, to identify the trends and the implications for regulation.

Acrobat Reader icon Strategic themes paper

Acrobat Reader icon Optical sector report 2014

Acrobat Reader icon Optical sector report 2014-15

 

 Adjustable focus spectacles

We were contacted in 2014 by Adlens Ltd who had approached Government to request a change in the Opticians Act 1989 to allow for the sale of adjustable focus spectacles over the counter without a prescription. We have been in discussions with Adlens and the Department of Health about the potential consequences of over the counter sale of adjustable focus spectacles, following a report produced by Adlens provided to us in March 2015.

To help inform the Department of Health in considering this matter further we commissioned an independent report from Professor William Neil Charman, to give a view on whether the paper produced by Adlens provided sufficient evidence to assure that the public’s health and safety would not be adversely affected if there was a change in the law to allow for the sale of adjustable focus spectacles over the counter.  We also asked what further evidence might be required if the case was not sufficiently made.

We also sought the views of our Standards Committee in October 2015, asking for their views on any benefits that adjustable focus spectacles might bring and any adverse effects that these products might have on the public’s health and safety if they were to be made available over the counter without a prescription.

We provided the Department of Health with Professor Charman’s report and the views of our Standards Committee in October 2015. We note that some stakeholders have called for legislative change to permit the unsupervised sale of all adjustable focus spectacles. Such a change in the law would be a matter for the Government not the GOC. Our view is that, before considering a change to the law, the Government should consult openly and carry out a regulatory impact assessment in order to identify the full range of likely impacts and avoid unintended consequences.

The report from Adlens, Professor Charman’s report and the views of our Standards Committee are available below:

Acrobat Reader icon Adlens' regulatory paper

Acrobat Reader icon Professor Charman's report

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Standards Committee's note


You can also read our statement from May 2017 in respect of adjustable focus spectacles.

 

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