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Student opticians removed from the registers

3 Sep 2007

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Student opticians removed from the registers

The General Optical Council (GOC) removed a total of 288 student
optometrists and dispensing opticians from its registers today.

Those removed failed to complete the retention process by returning a completed application form and paying the retention fee.

Students not on the registers should not be allowed to continue with their course or pre-registration training or sit an exam until they have re-applied for registration. The relevant education providers and examining bodies are being sent lists of students who have been removed. The GOC has further warned that any unregistered student who carries out reserved functions may face prosecution for a criminal offence. Students who have not been continuously
registered may be refused full registration. The Council will take any break from student registration into account in determining their fitness to practise.

GOC registrar Peter Coe said: "Student registration is a critical part of the regulatory framework in optics, essential to ensure public protection and the accountability of the student to the code of conduct. The majority of students have demonstrated a professional approach and attitude to both registration and their future profession. Efforts to enhance communications with students and training providers have contributed a significant improvement on last year. We are grateful for the assistance of our educational partners, and we will continue to work closely with them to ensure full student registration."

Student registrants are being issued with registration cards to assist
employers and educational establishments with checking their registration. Cards will be sent out to students in their practice training period. Those attending courses will be issued with the cards by their university or college at the start of term.

First year students starting optometry or dispensing optics courses this year will need to register before starting their course. The GOC will be visiting all the universities and colleges which are providing GOC approved courses at the start of term to talk to students and collect remaining applications.

Any student who wishes to reapply for registration must complete a new registration application form. Retention forms will no longer be accepted.

Forms and further information are available from the GOC website,
www.optical.org. The registration team can also be contacted on 020 7580 3898 (option 1) or email superinfo@optical.org.

ENDS

Notes for editors:
1. There are a total of 4,005 students on the Council’s registers, including 1,576 student dispensing opticians and 2,429 student optometrists.
2. Student registrants removed from the register:
Student optometrists – 103
Student dispensing opticians – 185
3. Optometry and dispensing optics come into contact with patients during their educational courses and practical training. Since 30 June 2005, it has been a legal requirement for optometry and dispensing optics students to be registered with the General Optical Council.
4. The student registration year runs from 1 September to 31 August, and students must apply for retention by 15 July.

For further information, please contact:
Clare Millington
Communications Officer
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473
e: cmillington@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 and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 22,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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