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GOC welcomes Health and Social Care Bill

16 Nov 2007

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GOC welcomes Health and Social Care Bill
 
The General Optical Council (GOC) has welcomed the publication of the Health and Social Care Bill, particularly the creation of the new Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA) to hear ‘fitness to practise’ (disciplinary) cases referred by the health professional regulators.
 
At its meeting in June, the GOC gave its formal support to transferring responsibility for hearings to the OHPA at the earliest opportunity. Rosie Varley, chairman of Council said: “The move to an independent adjudication body is in line with best practice to ensure that registrants’ human rights are protected and that all parties can continue to expect fair, impartial treatment. In the longer term, shared adjudication should mean more consistent fitness to practise decisions across the healthcare professions.”
 
The Council meets next week in Edinburgh, where members will discuss the implications of the Bill and other Government proposals for reforming healthcare professional regulation.
 
ENDS
 
For further information please contact:
Kate Fielding
Head of Communications
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3472
e: kfielding@optical.org
 
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 and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 22,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.
 
NOTES
1. The General Optical Council (GOC) will meet on 22 November at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh. Journalists and members of the public who would like to attend should contact: lkennaugh@optical.org.
 
2. The Council takes action if we receive a complaint that a registrant’s fitness to practise may be impaired due to:
  • misconduct
  • deficient professional performance
  • a caution or conviction in relation to a criminal offence
  • physical or mental health problems
  • a finding of impaired fitness to practise by another regulatory body 


If, after investigation, there is a case to answer, it will be referred to a public hearing of the Fitness to Practise Committee (a ‘fitness to practise’ hearing). The GOC has already separated its role in investigation and prosecution from adjudication by creating an independent hearings panel.

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