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Optical regulator holds 'historic meeting' in Edinburgh

20 Nov 2007

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On 22 November, the General Optical Council (GOC) will meet in Scotland for the first time in its 49 year history. The meeting will be only the second occasion on which the Council’s 28 members have convened outside London.

Members are set to discuss proposals for implementing some of the recommendations outlined in the recent Government White Paper on healthcare regulation. This includes a possible timeframe for applying the civil standard of proof in all GOC Fitness to Practise (disciplinary) hearings. Other issues for consideration are: the new European law enabling qualified professionals to work in other EU countries with greater ease; and recent legislation allowing optometrists to train to independently prescribe medicines.

Rosie Varley, Council chairman said: “This is an historic meeting of the GOC, allowing the Scottish public, and our Scottish registrants, the opportunity to find out more about the work of the GOC. Eye care services in Scotland are currently amongst the best in the UK, and we are committed to learning from the Scottish experience and to building strong, lasting partnerships with ministers and healthcare bodies across the border. Such relationships help us to ensure effective regulation across the whole of the UK.”

Members will also attend a pre-Council seminar, where Frank Munro, Chairman of Optometry Scotland, will deliver a presentation about the future of optometry and dispensing optics in Scotland. The annual Council dinner, also held on 22 November, will be attended by Sir Alan Langlands, Vice Chancellor of Dundee University.

The meeting takes place in public at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh. Journalists and members of the public who would like to attend should contact:



1. Agenda and papers for this Council meeting, and for previous meetings, are available on the GOC website:

2. The Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh is located on the Royal Mile, halfway between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.

3. Proceedings will start at 9.30am. The venue has disabled access.
4. Please note: journalists and members of the public are not able to attend the Council dinner, or the pre-Council seminar. These events are by invitation only.

5. The next meeting of the GOC will take place in Belfast on Thursday, 13 March 2008.

6. There are 28 members of Council, including one Scottish optometrist (Donald Cameron) and one Scottish lay member (Morag Alexander).

7. The Government’s White Paper, ‘Trust, Assurance & Safety: The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century’ sets out a series of proposals for reforming healthcare regulation. The Paper was published In February 2007. 

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