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Online retention is a success for GOC

5 Apr 2011

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Retention for optometrists, dispensing opticians and bodies corporate has now closed, The General Optical Council (GOC) has announced.

This year, for the first time, individual registrants were able to complete their retention online, and almost 95 per cent did so.

“We’re delighted that the online retention system has allowed our registrants to complete their retention so easily”, said Samantha Peters, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar. “To have such good figures for the first year of operation shows it works well, and we’re now working hard to roll the system out for students and businesses.”

The GOC has removed 203 registrants from its registers for failing to apply for 2011-12 retention, which represents one per cent of the registers.

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. This is £340.

Individual practitioners must also provide evidence of having completed the required minimum of CET in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from (from the homepage go to ‘current registrants’, then ‘registration fees and forms’).

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:
Liz Carr
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 and business registrants removed from the register:

Failing to apply for retention
Optometrists 74
Dispensing opticians 105
Bodies corporate 24

3. These removal figures do not include 130 individual practitioners, and 33 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:

2010-11 1.3%
2011-12 1%

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, 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 current 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 fee for restoration of registration is £340. There is no fee to restore a specialty.

10. 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.

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. Samantha Peters became Chief Executive and Registrar on 28 March.


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