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More registrants meet GOC CET target

5 Apr 2013

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today announced figures showing that the vast majority of optometrists and dispensing opticians have demonstrated their continuing fitness to practise by meeting their Continuing Education and Training (CET) points target for 2010-12.

The GOC has this week removed only 187 practitioners (less than 1 per cent) from its registers for failing to meet their target, fewer than the 191 removed after the previous cycle (in April 2010) despite the GOC register growing by around 8 per cent in that time. 19,305 individuals and 2,089 bodies corporate successfully renewed their registration.

All optometrists and dispensing opticians have to complete regular CET to demonstrate that they are keeping their skills and knowledge up-to-date.

The GOC also removed 144 registrants from its registers who failed to apply for 2013-14 retention by the 31 March late application deadline.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Samantha Peters, commented on the reduced number of removals: “This year’s figures are an encouraging sign that registrants understand the importance of completing their CET and maintaining their GOC registration.

“However, while we are happy to have removed fewer registrants than at the end of the previous CET cycle, I must stress how serious removal from the register is. Those registrants who have failed to complete their retention are now unable to practise, by law, until they have restored their registration.”

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 £330 restoration fee. 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 GOC-registered but continue to practise as dispensing opticians or optometrists in the UK, or use a protected title, are breaking the law. Bodies corporate not on the registers may not use or associate any of the protected titles with their company names. The GOC is sending lists of those removed from the register to relevant commissioning authorities.


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


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. On conviction, a fine of up to £2,500 for each charge can be imposed. 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 – 44
Dispensing opticians – 63
Bodies corporate - 37

Failing to meet CET requirement:
Optometrists – 85
Dispensing opticians – 102

3. The last CET cycle ended on 31 December 2012. The new three-year CET cycle runs from 1 January 2013 – 31 December 2015.

4. These removal figures do not include 309 individual practitioners, and 30 business registrants, who withdrew from the registers voluntarily (for example due to retirement, moving abroad, etc.).

5. Registrants removed from the register must restore before they are able to practise again. Individuals must provide details of professional indemnity insurance and declarations about health and criminal convictions and pay a £330 restoration fee. They must also 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, and make up any CET points shortfall from the previous cycle.

6. The deadline for receipt of completed retention forms and payments was 15 March 2013. Registrants who missed that deadline could apply for 31 March 2013 on payment of an extra late application fee.

7. The deadline for the last CET cycle was 31 December 2012. Practitioners who had not completed sufficient CET by the 15 March 2013 shortfall deadline were unable to apply to renew their retention for the 2013-14 registration year.

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

9. A record 97.8% of retention applications were made using the MyGOC online system.

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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