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First 2000 registrants meet peer review target

3 May 2013

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today announced that 15% of those registrants who must undertake peer review Continuing Education and Training (CET) in the 2013-15 cycle have already done so since the start of the year. This represents 2,230 optometrists and contact lens opticians.

Peer review is designed to encourage registrants to learn from each other’s expertise by discussing interesting, difficult or unusual cases. The GOC has made it a compulsory part of CET for optometrists and contact lens opticians to help mitigate the potential risks of working in isolation with little or no contact with peers.

GOC Head of Education and Standards, Linda Ford, said: “It’s extremely encouraging to see such a positive early take-up of peer review. Over the last few months I’ve been to peer review events all over the UK and have spoken to hundreds of registrants.

“We understand that many registrants feel a little nervous before taking part in peer review for the first time but the overwhelming majority have found it to be a hugely valuable experience and plan to attend further events. So many registrants have told me that they really value the opportunity to learn from their peers and share their own knowledge and expertise.

“Instead of just doing the minimum one peer review session per cycle required by the GOC, many registrants are now planning to get lots of their CET points from peer review and other interactive methods.”

In total, 92% of points gained so far in the new CET cycle have been from interactive learning methods. All GOC registrants must now obtain at least 50% of their points from interactive methods.


For further information please contact:
Simon Grier
Acting Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3478


1. CET ensures that optical professionals keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date through career-long learning. As of this year, all optometrists and contact lens opticians must take part in at least one peer review session per CET cycle.

2. CET is a legal requirement for all fully-qualified optometrists and dispensing opticians. The CET scheme is a points-based scheme that runs over a three-year cycle. All full registrants must earn a minimum number of CET points by the end of each cycle to stay on the registers.

3. The current CET cycle runs from 1 January 2013 – 31 December 2015

4. There are three types of learning approved for peer review CET points:

• registrant-led peer review involves a group of four-ten registrants who meet for a case based discussion session using their own cases. One registrant must act as a facilitator.
• a peer discussion event is a CET provider-led event where cases or topics are provided. These events can involve a large number of attendees however delegates must be split into discussion groups of between four and ten registrants plus a facilitator.
• in exceptional cases, where a registrant makes a written application demonstrating a legitimate reason why they cannot physically attend a peer review event, the GOC will consider permitting participation via online real-time audio and video services.

5. The GOC made a number of changes to its CET scheme for the start of this cycle. Details of these are available here.

6. The GOC made the changes following independent research into the risks in the profession and an extensive period of consultation. Details are available here.

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, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 26,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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