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GOC praised across all areas of work

3 Jul 2012

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has won praise for its work over the last year.

The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), the body which oversees the GOC, praised work and projects across the GOC’s four core functions in its 2011/12 performance review.

As well as commending the GOC’s overall performance as a regulator, the review highlighted a number of specific areas. These included the GOC’s proposals for enhanced Continuing Education and Training (CET), which comes into effect in January 2013, as an example of how it meets CHRE’s standards for education and training.

The GOC’s online retention system also won praise, with CHRE noting how feedback indicated that it had reduced the burden on registrants while allowing GOC staff to work more efficiently.

The review also noted the GOC’s improvements to its online registers, its work in tackling breaches of the Opticians Act, its leading role in collaborating with other regulators and improvements in communicating with those involved in the fitness to practise process.

GOC chair Anna Bradley said, “I’m particularly encouraged that CHRE has highlighted work from all areas of the organisation in their review. 2011/12 was the first year of our current strategic plan and the work we have done is vital in protecting the public. We will continue to work hard during the current year to lead the way in regulation.”

Where the review highlighted some areas for improvement, CHRE noted the work that the GOC is already undertaking to address these.

An increase in the number of hearing days per month and the appointment of a clinical adviser and new caseworkers will help to cut the duration of the fitness to practise process. An independent information governance review, to be conducted in the coming weeks, will make the GOC’s information governance more robust.

GOC chief executive Samantha Peters added, “I’m pleased that the report supports our good overall performance as a regulator. We work closely with CHRE at all times to ensure we are delivering effective public protection. 

“I’m delighted that they have highlighted so much good work that we’ve done over the last year, and we will continue the work we have already started to address their improvement points.”

For further information please contact: 
Neil Drake
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473

1. The full performance review is available at

2. Each of the nine UK healthcare regulatory bodies is assessed every year by the CHRE. The process looks at how each regulator carries out its functions and their general performance against agreed standards. The review highlights good practice and identifies areas for improvement. It covers the period 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012.

3. The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) is an independent statutory body covering all of the United Kingdom. It is answerable to the Westminster parliament. It was established by parliament in 2003 to ensure consistency and good practice in healthcare regulation.

4. The CHRE oversees the following nine UK regulatory bodies:
- the General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates doctors 
- the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which regulates nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses 
- the Health Professions Council (HPC), which regulates 15 professions
- the General Dental Council (GDC), which regulates dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists 
- the General Optical Council (GOC), which regulates dispensing opticians and optometrists 
- the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), which regulates chiropractors 
- the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), which regulates osteopaths
- the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), which regulates pharmacists
- the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI), which regulates pharmacists.

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 25,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.
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