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News from Council 26 January 2012

30 Jan 2012

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CEO’s report to Council: Law Commission Review and CHRE performance report
At the January meeting of Council, Samantha Peters, Chief Executive and Registrar delivered an update to Council which included a progress report on the forthcoming Law Commission’s Review of healthcare regulation. This work is likely to dictate the shape of healthcare regulation for years to come, and a public consultation will be launched on 1 March 2012. The key issues for debate that will affect the GOC include: the future of business regulation, the regulation of students training to become optometrists and dispensing opticians, and the scope of the GOC’s regulatory reach.

The GOC submitted its annual performance review for 2011-12 to the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) in December. The CHRE’s concluding annual performance review of the GOC and all other healthcare regulators is due to be published in June. Following a separate CHRE review of regulators’ cost-effectiveness and efficiency, they will publish an interim report on their findings across the board in due course.

GOC prepares for implementation of new FTP Rules
The GOC announced plans to carry out further consultation with stakeholders on an amendment to its Fitness to Practise Rules. The GOC will consult on one proposed change, which will result in case examiners, rather than the GOC’s Registrar, reviewing decisions not to refer registrants to the fitness to practise committee. This follows the Council’s decision in September 2011 that the rules should be amended in this way in response to stakeholder feedback.

You can respond to the consultation here.

It is anticipated that the new fitness to practise rules will be fully implemented in 2013. The Council aims to agree plans for the transitional period in April 2012. As part of the new rules, the GOC will be recruiting up to 12 case examiners to include optometrists, dispensing opticians and lay people. Further details of the recruitment timetable will be announced in the coming months.

CET: update on the new scheme for 2013
This is the final year of the current CET cycle, and from January 2013 there will be a new enhanced CET scheme in place for all fully-qualified registrants. As part of this new scheme, in September 2010 Council considered the possibility of an additional six yearly requirement for registrants to undergo a clinical skills assessment in order to determine their continued fitness to practise. To establish whether this addition to CET requirements would be proportionate, the GOC has commissioned research to analyse the costs and benefits of a clinical skills assessment. Council will consider the findings in March.

The GOC website has also now been updated to include a specific section dedicated to enhanced CET. The site includes all of the up to date information, fact sheets about peer discussion and distance learning requirements and FAQs. Further information will be added over the coming months, including video footage of peer discussion groups, a series of podcast interviews and a toolkit with example cases, discussion topics and approval criteria for each of the available modes of learning.

Draft budget for 2012/13
The Council noted the draft budget for 2012-13, based on the lower retention fee of £260, as agreed at the November 2011 meeting of Council. As a result of a number of efficiency measures, the GOC reported that it had achieved over £250,000 of efficiency savings in this financial year, despite inflation running at over five per cent. It is anticipated that further savings will be achieved in the future from the Council’s ‘invest to save’ programme. Council reaffirmed its commitment to offering value for money and efficiency, whilst fully delivering on the GOC’s public protection remit.

Next meeting – Thursday 22 March 2012 at 10.30, venue TBC

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For further information, please contact:
Clare March
GOC Communications Manager
020 7307 3473


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