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Regulator removes opticians from the registers

2 Apr 2008

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has removed from its registers 442 opticians who failed to renew their registration for 2008/9.

Included in that total are 184 optometrists,179 dispensing opticians and 79 bodies corporate. Compared to last year’s retention process, the number removed for failing to renew has increased by 159 registrants.

Peter Coe, GOC Registrar commented: “Registration is not a trivial issue – it is fundamental to public protection. Around 98 per cent of registrants have shown their commitment and professionalism by responding to the deadline without any difficulty. Those who have been removed from the registers are not eligible to work, and we will make sure employers and Primary Care Organisations are aware. Anyone who does wish to continue practising must act now.”

Individuals who are not registered with the GOC may not practise as dispensing 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.

To continue practising in the UK, any individual or business that has been removed must restore to the registers immediately. Applicants must complete an application for restoration 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

The list of registrants not renewed for 2008-9 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.

ENDS

Notes for editors:

1. ‘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.

2. 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.

3. These figures do not include 154 practitioners who withdrew from the register (for example due to retirement, moving abroad etc.)

4. Registrants may be removed for failing to provide a completed application form, as well as for non-payment of fees.

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

6. To restore to the registers, registrants must provide evidence of having earned at least 12 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.

7. The deadline for receipt of completed retention forms and payments was 15 March 2008.

8. The fee for restoration of registration for an individual or business is £239.

9. Further details on the use of protected titles are available from www.optical.org

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