Adapting to change

As you reflect on 2021, what moments will you recall?

animation of person thinking

As 2021 begins to draw to a close, this is traditionally the time that people will begin to reflect on the lessons they have learned, and the skills and knowledge they have gained over the last 12 months.

In 2021, we have been forced to continue to adapt to the changing goal posts as the pandemic has rolled on. While summer holidays will have again been switched to staycations for many, for example, we must remember to recall our successes and celebrate our ‘wins.’

I am always heartened by the positivity and ‘big picture’ outlook that practitioners have shared with OT when we have spoken to them for various articles over the course of the year.

From the optometrist who set up a free patient support line, covering the running costs himself, to the optometrist delivering telegrams to help people keep in touch – just two examples of the many dozens that have been shared with OT over the last nine months.

We cannot forget the technology advances that have been fast-tracked due to the pandemic either, such as remote consultation software, the increased interest in independent prescribing, and the development of new shared care schemes, such as the COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES.) Optometrists have continued to step forward and offer care in the community as the hospital backlog challenge continues.

The ongoing pandemic has also meant that practices have had to continue to adapt in order to see both patients who require care and those attending routine appointments. As a result, the triage systems that practices have in place have been more important than ever before. In our latest edition, which landed last weekend, one optometrist said of triaging: “We have become much more used to deciding, one, if a patient requires to be seen and, two, how urgently they need to be seen.” If only that could have happened without a devastating worldwide event, he reflected.

As clinicians, you are used to adapting to meet patient needs and clinical requirements, but it is fair to say that the last 20 months have demonstrated that even more so. And I’m sure this will continue in 2022 and beyond.

One change that will come into effect on 1 January 2022 is the introduction of continuing professional development (CPD). I’m sure many will be aware by now that 31 December marks the end of CET; both the end of the cycle and the end of the scheme. As we ring in the New Year, a new way to learn will be introduced by the General Optical Council (GOC). You can read more about the changes in our feature by the GOC’s Natalie Michaux, who has been the CPD review lead on the project. 

CPD is not a new term. It is one that many will have heard of before. It is format that is used by many other professions, both in and outside of healthcare.

On Tuesday evening, I joined a webinar hosted by the GOC that aimed to share insight into the new education requirements that it will launch next year.

To highlight a couple of changes that practitioners should be aware of come 2022: in the CPD cycle, it will be the responsibility of the registrant to upload and declare their CPD points with the GOC through their MyCPD system. Also, before practitioners can use the system and begin declaring their points, they will have to create a Personal Development Plan. More information on CPD and the requirements can be found on the GOC’s website.

OT has been working hard over the last six months to develop its CPD offering to ensure that it meets the requirements of the new scheme as well as the needs of the member. We shared our first suite of CPD articles in our December 2021/January 2022 edition, and the exams associated to them will be available to take online on 5 January. Be sure to log in and take a look at our offering.

The last CET push

For any practitioners who are yet to meet the GOC’s current CET requirements, there is still time before the cycle closes at midnight on 31 December. In order to support practitioners in this, OT has a suite of 25 CET exams currently available online. These exams, which are each worth one non-interactive CET point, cover all competencies for all practitioner types. Exams will close on 28 December, so be sure to log in and take the exams before then. Importantly, do not forget to accept any CET points that have been uploaded to your GOC MyCET account in order for them to be counted. Take an exam today.