For employees

Every individual professional has a responsibility to meet the standards set by the GOC

Patient trying on spectacles

Optical practice is generally very safe and presents very few risks to patients. But mistakes can happen. Test results can be misinterpreted; pathology can be missed; referrals may be not made or not followed up. Often this occurs when a professional is under time pressure. It is your responsibility to give each patient the time and attention they need. But we also believe that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that you can do so.

We do not recommend a specific minimum time for a sight test. Instead, we say that a sight test should be as long as the patient needs. Patients need different amounts of time for a range of reasons, including their eye health and their ability to comply with the examination. If we suggested a minimum time for the test, members could come under pressure for exceeding that when they are looking after a patient who needs more time.

We advise employers to divide up the practice diary so that double or triple appointments can be allotted to those who need more time. We advise against a diary that assumes that each patient will need the same amount of time.

We oppose measures such as unstaffed so-called “ghost clinics” clinics that are designed to fill gaps caused by DNAs. We also counsel against pay incentives that could lead you to hurry to the detriment of your patients.

You should be aware of any pressure or temptation to give a patient less time than they need. You should raise any concerns with your employer.

If you don’t get a satisfactory response from your employer, you can contact our team for advice at [email protected].