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GOC seeks feedback on accessibility of fitness to practise information

7 Jun 2010

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched a consultation to ask: how accessible should fitness to practise (FTP) information about registrants be?

The Council is seeking feedback from all stakeholder groups, including registrants, patients and the public, on the information that should be made available on the public registers of opticians, and other areas of its website. The Council will decide on any rule changes at its September Council meeting.

At the moment, only warnings and registration conditions imposed by the GOC’s Fitness to Practise Committee that are currently in force can be viewed against a practitioner’s record on the registers. However, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) has recommended that expired sanctions are also made available to the public.

CHRE also recommends that the GOC retains the records of registrants who have been suspended or erased from the registers. This means that searching for an erased registrant would bring up a notice that the registrant has been removed from the registers - currently, their records are erased entirely.

GOC chief executive and registrar, Dian Taylor said: “The proposals are intended to enhance public safety by providing patients and the public with more information about their optometrist or dispensing optician. However, it is crucial that any changes we make are fair and proportionate – this input will help us to develop such a policy.”

Last year’s GOC consultation events on access to the registers have also informed the issues that are now up for debate. Delegates, including registrants, patients and industry representatives, gave their views on what information they felt should be included on the registers. A report of the events is available at www.optical.org

The consultation closes on 27 August. To respond, visit www.optical.org/en/news_publications/consultations/index.cfm  where you can download and respond to the consultation document. Paper copies can be requested from Matthew Tait on 020 7307 3923.

A survey asking patients and the public for their experiences of using the GOC registers, and what information they would like to see on them, will also help the Council to make its decisions. This is available on the GOC website at www.optical.org/en/news_publications/consultations/index.cfm

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Simon Grier
Communications Officer
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3478
e: sgrier@optical.org  

Notes to editors:

1. The recommendations mentioned in the consultation document have come from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), which scrutinises and oversees the GOC’s work, as well as that of the UK’s other healthcare regulators.

2. A report of last year’s Access to the Registers consultation events, which have helped to inform this consultation document, is available at www.optical.org/en/news_publications/Events/past-events/access-to-the-registers.cfm  
 

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