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GOC commits to duty of candour

13 Oct 2014

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today joined seven other healthcare regulators in pledging to put openness and honesty at the heart of healthcare.

A ‘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.

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

Samantha Peters, GOC chief executive and registrar, said: “Today’s joint statement shows our commitment, and that of other regulators, to promoting openness and honesty in UK healthcare.

“Our registrants provide fantastic care for their patients but, occasionally, things can go wrong and this can be extremely distressing. When this happens, patients have the right to know what has happened and what can be done to put it right. Patients also deserve an apology.

“It’s now vital that we work with patients, registrants and other stakeholders during our ongoing standards review to ensure we enshrine the duty of candour in an effective and proportionate way. I’d like to encourage everyone with an interest in our work to continue to engage in our standards review over the next year.”

The joint statement is available at:



For further information please contact:

Simon Grier

Communications Manager

General Optical Council

t: 020 7307 3478




1. The signatories to the statement are:

·         The General Chiropractic Council (GCC)

·         The General Dental Council (GDC)

·         The General Medical Council (GMC)

·         The General Optical Council (GOC)

·         The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)

·         The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

·         The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

·         The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI)

2. Details of the standards review project, including the timetable for implementing future phases, are available at


About the General Optical Council:

The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 26,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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