Opportunities and challenges - our response to the GOC
Our response to the GOC's consultation on draft Education Standards and Learning Outcomes
The consultation proposed big changes to education for optometrists, including an increased emphasis on clinical experience, more flexible rules for education providers and a single set of requirements replacing the current two stage route to registration. To ensure we fully reflected our members’ views in our response, our Policy Committee worked with AOP members from across the profession, including the Hospital Optometrists Committee, members who work in universities and AOP student representatives, as well as inviting comments from all members in our member community forum.
The key message from these conversations was that, while members broadly welcomed the GOC’s aim of setting more flexible rules for optometry education, they had real concerns over the practical proposals. Our response to the GOC highlights the need to ensure consistent assessment of students and to support education providers to provide meaningful clinical experience. We also call for a clear definition of what a ‘safe beginner’ optometrist should look like – the lack of clarity about this in the draft Learning Outcomes is a major concern.
Our response covers the risks and opportunities of employer led clinical training and the need for adequate funding for optical education. We also confirm our continued view that the requirement for optometry students to be GOC registered is over the top.
Thanking members who shared their views on the GOC’s proposals, AOP Policy Director, Tony Stafford, said: “We’ve had some really valuable and insightful feedback from AOP members. The GOC consultation has raised a lot of interesting issues and some real challenges. We hope our response helps the GOC to tackle these issues and make good progress with the review, so that the optometrists of the future are well equipped for challenging and changing roles.”
This most recent response follows an initial call for evidence to the ESR, to which we submitted a response in March 2017, and a subsequent consultation on ESR concepts and principles to which we responded in March 2018.