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GOC praised for 'commitment to quality and fairness' in investigating fitness to practise complaints

1 Mar 2010

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today been praised by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) in relation to its processes for investigating complaints about registrants’ fitness to practise.

In its audit of the Council’s investigation processes, the CHRE concludes that the optical regulator ‘deals with fitness to practise cases well’, and that it ‘demonstrates a commitment to quality and fairness, and to protecting the public’, also observing that cases are dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner. The CHRE report highlights key areas of good practice, including:

  • When closing a case, the Investigation Committee (IC) offers advice to individual and business registrants on how to improve the service they give, including how to handle complaints in a better way.
  • IC members are active in identifying good practice points to share with the rest of the profession, for instance through the College of Optometrists.
  • GOC staff offer complainants helpful information about the extent of the GOC’s powers and about other potential sources of help.

The report also commends the GOC for taking prompt action to review and improve its processes following the identification of two areas of potential risk during CHRE’s audit.

GOC chief executive and registrar, Dian Taylor, commented: “The GOC welcomes the encouraging and positive outcome of the CHRE’s audit of our processes for investigating fitness to practise complaints. We are confident that the CHRE’s findings will help to ensure that the public, patients and GOC registrants have confidence that these processes and their outcomes are fair, transparent, and stand up to independent scrutiny. We will build on this success by continuing to improve and modernise our processes in this core area.”

In 2009, the CHRE carried out audits of all of the healthcare regulators’ processes for investigating complaints about fitness to practise. During the audit of the GOC’s investigation processes, the CHRE reviewed every complaint (84 in total) that the IC had decided not refer to the FTP Committee during the period from April 2008 to March 2009.

The full audit report is available at,  


For media enquiries please contact:
Clare March
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473


1. The CHRE is the independent body that oversees the work of all the healthcare regulators.

2. Audits of the nine regulators took place between April and December 2009 according to the following timetable:

GMC – April 2009
GCC – May
NMC – June
GOsC – July
GOC – August
GDC – September
PSNI - October
RPSGB – September
HPC – December

3. Full information on the audit process is 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, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 23,500 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.
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