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Should a 'licence to practise' form part of revalidation?

23 Apr 2010

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In the latest phase of its consultation on revalidation, the General Optical Council (GOC) is asking whether a ‘licence to practise’ should be used as part of a revalidation scheme for optometrists and dispensing opticians.

The licence to practise could be introduced as a way of distinguishing between practitioners who have been revalidated, and those who have not. If implemented, this would mean that registrants who are not active in clinical practice, and therefore not treating patients, such as lecturers, business owners and those in managerial positions or on a career break, would not need to undergo revalidation until they re-enter clinical practice.

Those registrants who are active in clinical practice would be required to undergo revalidation. Once they have been successfully revalidated, they would gain their licence to practise.

As part of its latest consultation, the GOC is exploring three options:

• Only registrants active in clinical practise should be revalidated;
• All registrants should undergo revalidation; or
• All registrants should be revalidated, but to differing degrees depending on their scope of practice.

GOC director of standards, Jon Levett said: “There are strong arguments for and against introducing the licence to practise as part of revalidation. This consultation is a good opportunity for us to understand how the proposals might benefit patients, the public, PCTs, registrants, and so on, but also will help to illuminate any concerns. Not everyone registered with the GOC has contact with patients - so this is a crucial area for consultation, and it will be interesting to listen to, and take account of, the views of all those who will be affected by the scheme.”

Registrants, the public and anyone else with an interest can respond to the proposals online, at www.optical.org. The consultation closes on Friday 4 June. At its public meeting on 17 June, to be held in Birmingham, Council will consider the responses and make a decision on whether a licence to practise will form part of revalidation.

The GOC is also hosting two seminar events to discuss the proposals. Both will take place in Central London on 25 May. Anyone involved in optics is invited to attend the morning discussion. Patients and members of the public are invited to attend the afternoon session. Capacity at both seminars is extremely limited. Anyone interested in attending should email sgrier@optical.org or call 020 7307 3478.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Clare March
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473
e: cmarch@optical.org

Notes to editors:

1. The Government’s White Paper on healthcare regulation, ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety’, directed that revalidation was necessary for all health professionals, and that ‘its intensity and frequency needs to be proportionate to the risks inherent in the work in which each practitioner is involved’.

2. Further details of the GOC’s proposals for revalidation are available from http://www.optical.org/en/about_us/revalidation/index.cfm

3. The stakeholder event will take place in London on 25 May. Anyone interested in attending should telephone 020 7307 3478 or email sgrier@optical.org to reserve a place. The venue will be announced early next week on the GOC website.

4. This license to practise consultation is part of an ongoing GOC consultation process for revalidation. The license to practise proposal was first presented in March 2009 when the GOC published its initial proposals for revalidation as part of a six month consultation. Throughout 2010, the GOC has been consulting on revalidation in more detail, including looking at levels of risk in optics and how a reformed version of CET could form part of revalidation.

5., For revalidation to be introduced from 1 January 2013. The GOC needs to inform the Department for Health by August 2010 whether licence to practise will be included in the scheme for revalidation. The introduction of licences to practice would involve considerable changes to the Opticians Act which will require the preparation and implementation of a Section 60 order by the Department of Health.
 

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