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News from Council 26 July 2017

27 Jul 2017

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Love Your Lenses

Council discussed the impact of the Love Your Lenses campaign regarding safe contact lens use, which launched in March 2017. It welcomed that there was evidence from social media that contact lens wearers intended to change their behaviour as a result of the knowledge they gained from the campaign and that the campaign reached millions of people.

Council encouraged stakeholders to get involved in promoting the 2018 Love Your Lenses awareness week and ongoing activities throughout the year. It welcomed plans to regularly update the Love Your Lenses website and communicate topical contact lens issues through social media.

The GOC has recently published some top tips for the summer for contact lens wearers which can be found here.

Education Strategic Review

Council agreed the project plan for the Education Strategic Review.

Council Chair, Gareth Hadley, said:

“The focus of the Review is on equipping the registrants of the future for the roles they will be expected to perform and instill in them a desire for professional development throughout their careers. It is also important that we recognise that delivering enhanced primary eye care services to an ageing population requires investment in the education and training of existing optometrists and dispensing opticians.”

Council considered the communications and engagement plan for the Review and agreed that collaboration with stakeholders will be vital to its success. It also welcomed the fact that the GOC will conduct research to learn lessons from developments in the education of healthcare professionals in both the UK and overseas. Council approved for publication a public statement on the Education Strategic Review.

Council welcomed the formation of an expert advisory group, established to provide specialist input and act as a sounding board as the GOC develops policy proposals. It also welcomed the establishment of the Education Strategic Review Stakeholder Forum that is being formed to consider broad policy questions, provide a channel for stakeholder involvement and to act as a test bed for emerging policy proposals.

Membership of the Forum will be far-reaching and made up of representatives from organisations across the optical and wider healthcare sector, including patient representatives.

Organisations with an interest in the future of the optical professions are encouraged to get involved by contacting Roz Platt on rplatt@optical.org.

Consensual disposal of FTP cases

Council reviewed the draft policy for consensual disposal of fitness to practise (FTP) cases. This policy will help the GOC to carry out its function of investigating and acting on FTP concerns in a way that is proportionate and fair. Council noted that consensual disposal would be appropriate in a case where the registrant admits the facts of the allegation, the grounds of impairment, that their FTP is currently impaired and the registrant and the Registrar are in agreement about the appropriate level of sanction. It also noted that the Fitness to Practise Committee would approve all consensual disposal agreements.

A public consultation on the draft consensual disposal policy will take place between August and October 2017 and the outcome will be considered by Council at its November 2017 meeting.

Accreditation of prior learning

Council approved a consultation on Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). APL is a process that allows individuals to be recognised for the skills and knowledge they have already acquired, either through formal courses or experiential learning, when joining a GOC-accredited education programme.

Council agreed that it was important to seek the views of external stakeholders before finalising and applying the policy. The GOC will publish the APL policy for consultation in the coming weeks.

Other news

Council noted the Optical Consumer Complaints Service annual report for 2016-17, including a 45 per cent increase in enquiries compared to 2015-16. Despite this increase, 98 per cent of consumer enquiries were concluded and successfully mediated by the OCCS. It noted the results of the PSA Performance Review 2015/16 where the GOC met 22 of the 24 standards, an increase from 21 the previous year.
 

ENDS

 

For media enquiries please contact:

GOC Communications Team
General Optical Council
t: 020 7580 3898 (option 4)
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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