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GOC removes 221 registrants over failure to apply for retention

3 Apr 2012

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has removed 195 practitioners and 26 bodies corporate from its registers for failing to apply for 2012-13 retention – just 1% of the registers.

Ninety-three optometrists and 102 dispensing opticians were removed after missing the second deadline of 31 March. It is now illegal for them to continue practising in the UK.

Philip Hallam, GOC head of registration, said: “This year, as in previous years, the vast majority of our registrants applied for retention on time. This underlines to both the public and the optical professions that our registrants understand the importance of GOC registration and the responsibilities that come with it. Only a small number failed to apply on time, and they have now left themselves unable to practise until they restore to our registers.”

In total, 96.8% of registrants renewing their registration used the MyGOC online retention system, an increase from 94.8% last year. Philip Hallam added, “The MyGOC system has made it quicker and easier than ever before to apply for GOC retention. Registrants should remember they can log in throughout the year to download a payment receipt, update their contact details or download a personalised logo to display their GOC registration to patients.”

Bodies corporate were able to renew their registration online for the first time this year. The system was introduced for individual registrants last year.

Any individual or business registrants who have been removed, but who wish to continue practising, must restore to the registers immediately. Applicants must complete the restoration form and pay the restoration fee of £330. Individual practitioners must also provide evidence of having completed the required minimum of CET in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from

Individuals who are not registered with the GOC but who continue to practise as dispensing opticians or optometrists in the UK are breaking the law. Bodies corporate not on the registers may not use or associate any of the protected titles with their company names.


For further information please contact:
Neil Drake
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473


1. 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.

2. Breakdown of individual registrants removed from the register:
Failing to apply for retention
Optometrists – 93
Dispensing opticians – 102
Bodies corporate - 26

3. These removal figures do not include 232 individual practitioners, and 40 business registrants, who withdrew from the registers voluntarily (for example due to retirement, moving abroad etc.).

4. The deadline for receipt of completed retention forms and payments was 15 March 2012

5. 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.

6. Protected titles are:
• (Registered) optometrist
• (Registered) dispensing optician
• (Registered) ophthalmic optician
• (Registered) optician(s)
7. The fee for restoration of registration is £330.

8. To restore to the registers, practitioners must have evidence of having earned at least 12 CET points (and six specialist points where applicable) in the 12 months prior to the date of their restoration application.

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 24,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.


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