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News from Council 11 July 2018

12 Jul 2018

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Acceptance criteria

Council approved new Fitness to Practise (FTP) Acceptance Criteria.

The criteria will define the circumstances where the GOC will accept a complaint as an allegation of a registrant’s impaired fitness to practise. Those that do not meet the criteria would be closed, and may be directed to another organisation, without referral to GOC Case Examiners.

The criteria will be beneficial to both the public and registrants, allowing for more efficiency and speed in handling cases that raise fitness to practise concerns, and allowing registrants to avoid the stress of being involved in an FTP case when it is not necessary.

From December 2017 to March 2018, the GOC consulted on the draft acceptance criteria which received support from the majority of stakeholders that responded. The consultation included two guidance documents, one for staff and one for the public. In response to comments from stakeholders the GOC has combined the two into one document, providing much clearer guidance which will improve transparency and avoid confusion.

The acceptance criteria is expected to be finalised by the end of July, with the criteria being formally introduced in September 2018.

OCCS Annual Report 2017-2018

The Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) gave a presentation on its annual report for the year 2017/18. Some trends from the report include: a decrease in customer service complaints from thirty-three per cent to twenty-six per cent and increase in the complexity of their caseload. The top complaint issues referred to OCCS were perceived errors with prescriptions, outcomes of laser eye surgery and dispensing.

97 per cent of enquiries were concluded with a resolution and 76 per cent of service users would use the OCCS service again.

During the 2017/18 year, OCCS achieved several of its objectives, including the implementation of a plan for improved accessibility for consumers with disabilities, sharing the insight of consumer complaints gained by OCCS with the public and optical professions, and improving consumer contact pathways to increase direct enquiries with OCCS rather than the GOC Fitness to Practice (FTP) team.

OCCS will continue to support the GOC during 2018/19 by continuing to improve upon their 2017/18 objectives, assisting the GOC FTP team to conclude FTP complaints quickly and efficiently, and preparing its services for the introduction of the FTP acceptance criteria.

2018 Love Your Lenses Week update

Council received an update on this year’s Love Your Lenses week (24-30 March). The campaign reached almost 2 million people across print and radio and 1.7 million on social media. The campaign was created to improve patient safety by raising patient awareness of how to buy and wear contact lenses safely. This year more stakeholders got involved which the GOC expects to continue as awareness of the campaign grows.

An infographic was made at Halloween encouraging people who chose to wear contact lenses as part of their fancy dress to buy their lenses safely and legally, resulting in 165 pieces of media coverage on this topic alone.

The GOC is planning to continue Love Your Lenses week in 2019 and will be working through the rest of the year on maintaining and increasing public awareness of the campaign to ensure that contact lens wearers continue to get the right safety advice.

Other news

Council has granted full approval to the BSc (Hons) Ophthalmic Dispensing and Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing at Bradford College (without conditions). Council also granted full approval to the Post-graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Prescribing at Cardiff University (without conditions) and the proposed changes to reduce the duration of the programme from three months to two months.

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley paid tribute to Lisa Davis, Director of Fitness to Practise, who will be leaving the GOC after four and a half years. Lisa has secured a new role as CEO of her local Citizens Advice, which she will commence in early September. Gareth said, “Lisa has made a great contribution in her time at the GOC and we will very much miss her. However we’re very happy for her that she is moving on to a Chief Executive job.”

Interim Chief Executive Adam Sampson’s report noted the GOC will soon be consulting on the future of Continuing Education and Training (CET). The GOC can confirm that this consultation is due to launch on Tuesday 17 July.

 

ENDS

 

For media enquiries please contact:

GOC Communications Team

General Optical Council
t: 020 7580 3898 (option 3)
e: communications@optical.org

 

Notes to editors
1. Council papers are available at: https://www.optical.org/en/get-involved/Council_meetings_and_papers/index.cfm

 

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, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 29,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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