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Optical regulator removes 464 opticians from its registers

2 Apr 2009

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has removed from its registers 464 opticians who failed to renew their registration for 2009-10.

The total removed comprises 183 optometrists, 191 dispensing opticians and 90 bodies corporate. Practitioners are required to renew their GOC registration each year, to stay on the Opticians Registers.

Dian Taylor, GOC registrar and chief executive said: “Registration is critical to public protection, and should not be taken lightly. Clearly, the majority of opticians are aware of the importance of maintaining their registration.

“However, those who have been removed must apply for restoration immediately if they wish to continue working. We have alerted employers, primary care organisations and professional bodies to the list of those registrants who are no longer eligible to practise.”

Individuals who are not registered with the GOC may not practise as dispensing opticians or optometrists in the UK, or use any of the protected titles. Bodies corporate not on the registers may not use or associate any of the protected titles with their company names.

The registration status of an individual or business can be checked on the GOC website,

To apply for restoration practitioners must complete an application for restoration form, pay the £289 restoration fee and provide evidence of having completed the required minimum of Continuing Education and Training (CET) in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from the GOC website, or from the registration team on 020 7580 3898 (option 1), email


For further information please contact:
Clare Millington
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473

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.

Notes for editors:

1. These figures do not include 209 opticians who withdrew voluntarily from the registers (for example due to retirement, moving abroad etc).

2. Last year, 442 full registrants were removed for failing to apply for retention.

3. The deadline for receipt of completed retention forms and payments was 15 March 2009.

4. The following are all protected titles under the Opticians Act:
(Registered) optometrist
(Registered) dispensing optician
(Registered) ophthalmic optician
(Registered) optician(s)

5. ‘Practise’ constitutes the undertaking or supervising of functions reserved by the Opticians Act 1989 to registered optometrists and dispensing opticians, such as sight testing, fitting contact lenses and selling particular categories of optical appliances.

6. 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.

7. To renew their registration, practitioners must provide details of professional indemnity insurance and declarations about health and criminal convictions.

8. To restore to the registers, practitioners must provide evidence of having earned at least 12 general CET points in the 12 months prior to restoration. To restore a specialty, registrants must have gained 12 general CET points AND six specialty CET points in the last 12 months.


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