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GOC removes 171 registrants after renewal deadline passes

10 Apr 2017

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has removed 140 individual practitioners and 31 bodies corporate from its registers for failing to renew their registration for the year 2017/2018 – less than 1% of registrants.

51 optometrists and 89 dispensing opticians missed the deadline for renewal of 31 March. It is now illegal for them to continue practising in the UK.

Michelle Norman, GOC Head of Registration, said: “We’re really pleased to see that the vast majority of our registrants applied for renewal on time. A very small number of registrants failed to renew by the deadline and have therefore left themselves unable to practise in the UK. This demonstrates to the public and to the optical professions that our registrants understand the importance of GOC registration.”

This year, the GOC made changes to the renewal process to make it more cost-effective and efficient. Michelle Norman added, “This year we decided to no longer issue registration cards as they are only valid on the day that they are issued and don’t prove that an individual or business is registered. The best way to check registration status is on our online register which has the most up to date information.

“We also sent renewal notices by email this year instead of by post, and registrants will receive confirmation of renewal by email as well. We expect to save at least £50,000 annually from these changes. We’re delighted that registrants responded positively to the improved renewal process, which is reflected in the low numbers of practitioners and businesses removed from the registers for failing to renew. ”

Any individual or business registrants who have been removed, but who wish to continue practising or carrying on business, must restore to the registers immediately. Applicants must complete the restoration form and pay the restoration fee of £420. Individual practitioners must also provide evidence of having met the necessary CET requirements in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from



For further information please contact:

GOC Communications Team
General Optical Council
t: 020 7580 3898 (option 4)



1. The full list of removals from the register can be viewed on our website here:

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. NHS bodies may also refuse payment or reclaim GOS fees in respect of any period during which a practitioner was not registered.

3. These removal figures do not include 137 dispensing opticians, 200 optometrists and 40 business registrants, who withdrew from the registers voluntarily (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. To renew their registration, practitioners must provide details of professional indemnity insurance and declarations about health and criminal convictions.

5. Protected titles are:
• (Registered) optometrist
• (Registered) dispensing optician
• (Registered) ophthalmic optician
• (Registered) optician(s)

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 29,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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