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GOC recognised as 'effective regulator'

5 Jul 2011

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has been recognised as an ‘effective regulator’.

In its annual review of the nine regulators it oversees, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) praised the GOC’s performance in standards, education, registration and fitness to practise.

CHRE commended the GOC’s new Codes of Conduct, which came into force in April 2010. The report noted that the changes to the Codes, implemented after a full public consultation, “Were in the interests of both patients and registrants.”

CHRE also praised the GOC’s work to improve the availability of Fitness to Practise information on its registers, while backing plans to pursue breaches of the Opticians Act and use case examiners in the early stages of Fitness to Practise investigations.

GOC Chair Anna Bradley said: “The report gives the GOC a clean bill of health as a sound, effective regulator. It shows we are in line with our mission to assure the health and protection of those who use the services of optometrists and dispensing opticians, and acknowledges the hard work of our staff and Council members throughout the last year.”

The report also noted that CHRE would like the GOC to reduce the time taken to conclude Fitness to Practise investigations. The GOC has already begun work on this, and subject to the outcome of the recent consultation, will introduce new Fitness to Practise Rules soon.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar Samantha Peters said: “We are pleased to receive CHRE’s public support for the work we are already doing to speed up the Fitness to Practise process. We are also delighted by the interest they are taking in our work to pursue breaches of the Opticians Act such as illegal contact lens sales. We have a positive, constructive relationship with CHRE and always welcome their suggestions as to how we can further protect the public. ”

The full CHRE Performance Review 2010-11 of the GOC's work is available from the CHRE website,


For media enquiries please contact:
Liz Carr
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473

Notes for editors:

1. 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 2010 – 31 March 2011.

2. 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.

3. The CHRE governs 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.

4. The standards against which the regulators are assessed can be found on the CHRE's website,

5. A summary of the outcome of the GOC’s fitness to practise information consultation, and the steps the GOC is now taking to improve access to this information, is available here.

6. The GOC’s Fitness to Practise Rules consultation is available here.

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 24,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.


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