The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is very concerned to learn about the General Optical Council’s (GOC) notice of intention to withdraw provisional approval for the University of Portsmouth’s Masters of Optometry programme, and is working to support our members among the 33 students affected.
We understand that students have been made aware of possible options available to them to continue their optometry studies, and that they will be met by the University on an individual basis to discuss these over the next few days. Portsmouth University will be required to compensate the affected students for any additional costs they will incur if the course cannot continue, and we welcome the University’s recent confirmation to students that it will do so.
We also welcome the GOC’s intention to lift its cap on student numbers and staff: student ratios for other universities offering fully GOC-approved optometry courses so that affected Portsmouth students can transfer to study elsewhere. We hope that these universities will urgently consider whether they can take these students on to enable them to complete their optometry studies.
We recommend that affected Portsmouth students read the FAQ document issued by the GOC, which can be accessed at the end of its statement, and that they continue to liaise with Portsmouth University through this process.
The AOP legal team will be able to offer advice to any student member who experiences difficulties obtaining compensation through Portsmouth University’s student protection plan or is not happy with the outcome.
If you are affected by this situation and are experiencing any stress or worry, you can contact the AOP Peer Support Line where a trained volunteer is ready to give you a safe, confidential space to talk through your issues.
For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, SerenaBox@aop.org.uk or telephone 020 7549 2063.
Notes to Editors
Association of Optometrists
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit www.aop.org.uk