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General Optical Council issues warning to students

25 Jul 2007

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General Optical Council press release – 25 July 2007

For immediate release

General Optical Council issues warning to students

The General Optical Council (GOC) today sent letters to student registrants who have failed to apply for retention of their registration for the year beginning 1  September. The student retention deadline was 15 July. A total of 3,434 stu dents have renewed their registration, but 733 applications are still outstanding (18 per
cent). The total includes 344 student optometrists and 389 student dispensing opticians.

Universities and colleges have been sent lists of students who have failed to renew. The College of Optometrists and ABDO are also being notified of preregistration students with applications outstanding. Those who fail to renew by 31 August will not be eligible to continue with their studies or clinical training from 1
September.

The GOC’s letter includes a warning that any unregistered student who carries out restricted acts may face prosecution, and that the GOC may not recognise the qualifications of students who have not been registered throughout their course, when they apply for full registration.

Pre-registration students are being asked to renew their student registration, even if they intend to apply for full registration before 31 August. In these cases, the GOC will deduct the student retention fee from their full registration fee.

GOC registrar Peter Coe explained: "Students need to make sure there is no gap when they are training or working, where they are not registered with the GOC. Registration is a legal requirement, and it is essential to ensure proper protection or patients involved in students’ clinical training. Just as importantly, registering, and maintaining registration, with the GOC is part of the code of conduct, and core to professionalism. Students need to demonstrate a professional approach and attitude, in addition to technical skills and knowledge."

First years starting optometry or dispensing optics courses this year will need to register before starting their course. The GOC will be visiting all the universities and colleges providing GOC approved courses at the start of term to talk to students and collect remaining applications.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Kate Fielding
Head of Communications
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3472
m: 07763 210019
e: kfielding@optical.org

Notes for editors:
1. Optometry and dispensing optics come into contact with patients during their educational courses and vocational training. Since 30 June 2005, it has been a legal requirement for optometry and dispensing optics students to be registered with the General Optical Council.
2. There are a total of 4,167 students on the Council’s registers, including 1,511 student dispensing opticians and 2,439 student optometrists.

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.

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