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GOC publishes new Standards of Practice

29 Oct 2015

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today published its new Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, and separate new Standards for Optical Students, which will come into effect from 1 April 2016.

The new Standards will replace the existing Code of Conduct for Individual Registrants which apply to both fully qualified practitioners and students.

Samantha Peters, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar said: “We have made important and positive changes to the standards we set for opticians. I urge all registrants to take the time to familiarise themselves with them before they come into force in April next year.

“The Standards have been designed to make clearer what we expect of registrants, and to maintain public protection as the optical professions develop. They also ensure consistency with developments across the healthcare sector, such as a duty to be candid when things have gone wrong.

“The Standards are not a rule book – they give room for registrants to use their professional judgement in deciding how to apply the standards in any given situation. It is therefore vital that all registrants make sure they are confident in applying them to their practice.”

As well as being published on the GOC website, the Standards have been sent to all registrants by email and this will be followed by paper copies being sent through the post in December 2015 as part of their annual retention packs. During the retention process, registrants will have to declare that they have read and will abide by the Standards. Registrants will also have to complete at least one piece of Continuing Education and Training (CET) on standards as part of the 2016-18 cycle.

The GOC is also updating its Code of Conduct for business registrants to make clear that businesses should support their employees in meeting their obligations under the new Standards.

The new Standards were approved by the GOC Council in July 2015 after a comprehensive consultation exercise which included an online survey of all registrants and a series of focus groups with patients, the public, optometrists, dispensing opticians, students and fitness to practise decision-makers. A full report on the consultation is available on the GOC’s website.



1. The new Standards of Practice are available to access on our website at:

For media enquiries please contact:

Simon Grier
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3478


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, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 28,500 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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