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GOC retention removals fall by just over one per cent

7 Apr 2010

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today removed 210 opticians from its registers for failing to apply for 2010-11 retention. The total comprises: 86 optometrists and 123 dispensing opticians. In addition, 49 business registrants were also removed.

When compared to last year, the number of practitioners removed for failing to renew their registration has fallen by just over one per cent.

In addition, 191 registrants have been removed for failing to meet the minimum Continuing Education and Training (CET) requirements by the end of the 2007-9 cycle. This represents a decrease of 128 registrants, when compared to the end of the first cycle in 2006. Those who were still in shortfall at the 31 December 2009 deadline where given until 15 March 2010 to earn sufficient CET.

GOC chief executive and registrar, Dian Taylor was positive about this year’s retention outcome: “The fact that such a small number of practitioners have been removed from the registers is extremely encouraging. This sends a strong message to the UK public, and to the optical professions, that optometrists and dispensing opticians are clearly aware of the responsibilities, and privileges, that GOC registration confers.

“This is also the first year in which practitioners have been able to track their retention application online through the registrants area of our website. Early feedback suggests this process has, on the whole, been successful, making the retention process much more efficient for everyone. But the work doesn’t stop here – we will continue to improve and expand our online retention facility for next year.”

Entries relating to a specialty were removed from the names of 17 registrants. They continue to be registered as non-specialists but may not carry out work or activities related to that specialty.

Any individual or business registrants who have been removed, but who wish to continue practising, must restore to the registers immediately. Applicants must complete the restoration form, and pay the restoration fee. The fee for optometrists and bodies corporate is £395, and for dispensing opticians £350. Individual practitioners must also provide evidence of having completed the required minimum of CET in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from

Individuals who are not registered with the GOC but who continue to practise as dispensing opticians or optometrists in the UK are breaking the law. Bodies corporate not on the registers may not use or associate any of the protected titles with their company names.


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


1. It is a criminal offence to test sight, fit contact lenses or low vision aids or dispense to children under 16 while not on the appropriate register. On conviction, a fine of up to £2,500 for each charge can be imposed. NHS bodies may also refuse payment or reclaim GOS fees in respect of any period during which a practitioner was not registered.

2. Breakdown of individual registrants removed from the register:

Failing to apply for retention
Optometrists – 86
Dispensing opticians – 123
Bodies corporate - 49

Failing to meet CET requirement
Optometrists – 71
Dispensing opticians – 120

3. These removal figures do not include 263 individual practitioners, and 25 business registrants, who withdrew from the registers voluntarily (for example due to retirement, moving abroad etc.).

4. Percentage of registrants removed for failing to apply for retention:
2009-10 - 2.35%
2010-11- 1.30%

5. The deadline for receipt of completed retention forms and payments was 15 March 2010.

6. Registrants may be removed for failing to provide a completed
application form, as well as for non-payment of fees. To renew their registration, practitioners must provide details of professional indemnity insurance and declarations about health and criminal convictions.

7. Registrants may also be removed if they fail to meet the minimum requirement for CET. The last CET cycle ended on 31 December 2009. The new CET cycle runs from 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2012.

8. Protected titles are:

  • (Registered) optometrist
  • (Registered) dispensing optician
  • (Registered) ophthalmic optician
  • (Registered) optician(s)

9. The deadline for the last CET cycle was 31 December 2009, and practitioners who had not completed sufficient CET by 15 March 2010 were unable to apply to renew their retention for the 2010-11 registration year.

10. The fee for restoration of registration for optometrists and business registrants is £395. The fee for dispensing opticians is £350. There is no fee to restore a specialty.

11. To restore to the registers, practitioners must have evidence of having earned at least 12 CET points (and six specialist points where applicable) in the 12 months prior to the date of their restoration application.


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