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Opticians removed from the registers

3 Apr 2007

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General Optical Council Press Release – 3 April 2007

For immediate release

Opticians removed from the registers

The General Optical Council (GOC) removed a total of 602 optometrists and dispensing opticians from its registers today. In addition 50 bodies corporate were removed.

Those removed include practitioners who failed to apply for retention in the registers for 2007-8, and those who failed to meet the requirements for Continuing Education and Training (CET).

Just 319 individuals were removed for failing to meet the CET requirement – less than two per cent of registrants. Registrar Peter Coe commented: “This is a fantastic result for the professions. The overwhelming majority have met CET requirements without any difficulty. Such a strong response sends a clear message to the public that optometrists and dispensing opticians are committed to keeping their knowledge and skills up to date and to maintaining
the highest standards of care.”

Entries relating to a specialty were removed from the names of 15 registrants, who failed to obtain the required number of specialty CET points. They continue to be registered as non-specialists but may not carry out work or activities reserved in relation to that specialty.

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

The list of registrants not renewed for 2007-8 is being sent to primary care organisations and professional bodies. The registration status of an individual or business can also be checked on the GOC website, www.optical.org.

Any individual or business who has been removed must restore to the register to practise. Applicants must complete the relevant form, pay the restoration fee and provide evidence of having completed the required minimum of CET in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from the GOC website, or from the registration team on 020 7580 3898, email superinfo@optical.org.

ENDS

Notes for editors:
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 registrants removed from the register:
Optometrists – 267
Dispensing opticians – 335
Failure to apply for retention – 283
Failure to meet CET requirement – 319
These figures do not include 258 practitioners who withdrew from the register (for example due to retirement, moving abroad etc.)
3. Registrants may be removed for failing to provide a completed
application form, 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. Following the end of a three-yearly CET cycle, registrants may also be removed if they fail to meet the minimum requirement for CET.
4. The deadline for receipt of completed retention forms and payments was 15 March 2007.
5. The first statutory CET cycle ended on 31 December 2006.
Practitioners in shortfall were given until 15 March 2007 to meet the
minimum requirement or face removal from the register.
6. The fee for restoration of registration for an individual or business is £239. There is no fee to restore a specialty.

For further information, please contact:
Kate Fielding
Head of Communications
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3472
m: 07763 210019
e: kfielding@optical.org

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