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“How the complaint is managed is key”

Optical Consumer Complaints Service consultant, Richard Edwards, discussed navigating negative feedback at 100% Optical


Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) consultant, Richard Edwards, highlighted that many practitioners have unrealistic perceptions about what behaviour will result in regulatory sanction during his presentation at 100% Optical (12–14 January, ExCeL London).

Mr Edwards emphasised that most cases that result in sanctions from the General Optical Council (GOC) are not about issues of competence but questions of conduct.

He explained the role of the OCCS, which is a free to use mediation service that handles low level complaints not fit for the GOC or a lawyer.

He added that the service is able to assist optical professionals as well as members of the public.

Clinical issues are seldom at the heart of the work the OCCS undertakes. 

“How the complaint is managed is key. I see very little about optometry and dispensing in this role. It’s about the relationship and the trust,” Mr Edwards shared.

Of the cases that the OCCS receives, only 3% fail to reach a resolution and 2% require referral to the GOC.

Drawing on his experience at the service, Mr Edwards shared tips with delegates for handling a complaint.

He suggested discussing the issue in a private area, practising active listening and explaining the situation without using jargon. 

Image credit: Nick Youngson