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Optical regulator 'performed well' in 2009-10, says CHRE

2 Jul 2010

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has ‘performed well’ throughout 2009-10, according the CHRE’s (Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence) annual performance review. The report assesses the Council’s achievements in core aspects of its work, including standards and guidance, registration, fitness to practise, education and training, governance and external relations.

In the report, the CHRE judges that the GOC has ‘achieved notable improvements in most areas’. Areas of particular commendation include:

• Preparing a registration toolkit for practitioners to use to help them promote their GOC-registered status to patients and the public.
• Introducing a formal process for identifying and prioritising serious fitness to practise cases, to ensure interim action is considered where appropriate.
• Publishing summary assessment reports on each of the GOC-approved education providers.
• Applying equality, diversity and human rights impact assessments to all new policies and procedures, and introducing an equality and diversity monitoring scheme, as a way of collecting and analysing data to help identify trends and possible barriers in the profession.

The CHRE also identifies areas of work that it will follow up for next year’s annual review. This includes progress made on the public accessibility of FTP information on the Council’s public registers, to improve registrant and employer understanding of FTP issues, and to develop witness and complainant support.

GOC interim chair, Anna Bradley said: “This is a very encouraging assessment of the GOC’s work over the last year. The report serves to highlight the many areas in which we have performed well, and also acknowledges the significant amount of work that Council members and staff have invested in taking the organisation forward.”

Dian Taylor, GOC chief executive and registrar added: “Progress is already well underway in the ‘follow up’ areas identified by the CHRE. We are currently consulting about the extent to which FTP information about registrants should be available on the public registers; our guidance for complainants has been revised and updated and is available on our website; and we are due to publish guidance for witnesses at FTP hearings later this summer.”

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 review highlights good practice and identifies areas for improvement.

The full CHRE Performance Review 2009-10 of the GOC's work is available from the CHRE website, www.chre.org.uk, or from www.optical.org  

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Clare March
Acting Head of Communications
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473
e: cmarch@optical.org

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, www.chre.org.uk.

4. Information on the GOC’s consultation about the public availability of FTP information on the Opticians Registers is available from, www.optical.org/en/news_publications/consultations/index.cfm 

5. Summary assessment reports on GOC-approved education providers are available from www.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, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 23,500 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.
 

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