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Optical regulator gets clean bill of health

6 Jul 2009

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has been judged to meet performance standards by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE). The annual review of the GOC’s work assessed achievements in core aspects of its work, covering standards and guidance, registration, fitness to practise, education, governance and external relations.

The GOC was commended for its system of identity checks for student registrants, and for taking action against an internet retailer selling contact lenses outside the requirements of the Opticians Act.

However, the CHRE also identified areas in which it would like to see progress by the next review date. These included promoting public awareness of registration, further improvements to aspects of the fitness to practise process, and publishing more information about assessments of education providers.

GOC chair Geoff Harris commented: “We are pleased to have been recognised once again as meeting the CHRE’s performance standards. The GOC has been through some very significant changes over the past year, as the report recognises, and yet we have continued to move forward with key initiatives in each of the core functions.

“The performance review process has been a useful tool for the Council to assess our own achievements and clarify priorities for the coming year. There is much still to be done, but we are on the right track.”

Each of the nine UK healthcare regulatory bodies is assessed every year by the CHRE. The process looks at how each regulator carries out its functions and their general performance against agreed standards. The Assessment highlights good practice and identifies areas for improvement.

The full CHRE Performance Review 2008-9 of the GOC's work is available from the CHRE website,, or from


For further information please contact:
Simon Grier
Communications Officer
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3478

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 23,500 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.


1. The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) is an independent statutory body covering all of the United Kingdom. It is answerable to the Westminster parliament. It was established by parliament in 2003 to ensure consistency and good practice in healthcare regulation.

2. The CHRE governs the following nine UK regulatory bodies:

- the General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates doctors
- the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which regulates nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses
- the Health Professions Council (HPC), which regulates 13 professions*
- the General Dental Council (GDC), which regulates dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists
- the General Optical Council (GOC), which regulates dispensing opticians and optometrists
- the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), which regulates chiropractors
- the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), which regulates osteopaths
- the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), which regulates pharmacists
- the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI), which regulates pharmacists.

3. The standards against which the regulators are assessed can be found on the CHRE's website,

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