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GOC shares insights from public perceptions research

8 Apr 2021

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has published its 2021 public perceptions research, which seeks to understand the public’s views and experiences of opticians across the UK.

Over 2,000 members of the public responded to an online survey as part of the research. Some key findings include:

  • 96 percent of respondents were satisfied with their last opticians visit overall.
  • 94 percent of respondents remain confident in the standard of care provided by opticians remains high, and is higher than that for doctors, dentists and pharmacists.  
  • 97 percent said they were satisfied with the measures that were in place during their last optician visit to protect them from coronavirus.
  • A new high of 30 percent of respondents said they would speak to an optician first if they woke up with an eye problem, representing an 11-percentage point increase since 2015.
  • Over a third of respondents (35%) said they perceive opticians to be solely a healthcare service, which has increased by 4-percentage points since 2019.

The term ‘opticians’ was used throughout the research to avoid confusion on the assumption that the public do not clearly distinguish between ‘optometrists’ and ‘dispensing opticians’, although questions about the understanding of these terms were included as part of the research.

Marcus Dye, GOC Acting Director of Strategy, said: “We’re extremely pleased to see that confidence in the professions remains high, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’d like to thank our registrants for their hard work during these difficult times to ensure the public could still receive eye care and feel safe doing so.

It’s also positive to see that the perception of opticians as a healthcare service has increased to over a third, and more respondents than ever say they would speak to an optician first if they had an eye problem. We look forward to continuing to see these numbers increase and we hope registrants and the wider sector will find the report to be helpful in improving optical care practice.”

The survey was carried out by M·E·L Research and was conducted online and distributed to a UK consumer panel, which includes members of the public who have signed up to take part in online research on a wide number of topics.

The research forms part of the GOC’s ‘Fit for the Future’ strategic plan for 2020-25, and will be used to inform its work in transforming customer service and future policy and research activities.

The GOC has published five public perceptions reports since this research began in 2015. The full report is available on the GOC website.

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