Education and training requirements

ETR: 12 qualifications meet the new GOC requirements

The GOC confirmed that the updated courses, spanning optometry, dispensing optics, and independent prescribing, will start from autumn 2023

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has confirmed that 12 qualifications have met the new education and training requirements (ETR) ahead of the autumn 2023 term.

The providers of the qualifications, which span optometry, dispensing optics, and independent prescribing, have adapted the courses to meet the new requirements.

Steve Brooker, GOC director of regulatory strategy, commented: “We are pleased to see so many providers ready to deliver updated qualifications, following the introduction of our new education and training requirements in 2021.”

The overhaul of the requirements aimed to reflect modern regulation practices and ensure optical professionals are equipped to meet the needs of patients in a rapidly changing landscape.

The implementation of the new requirements is driven by each provider, though the GOC said it expected most to do so from September 2023 or 2024.

Cardiff and Ulster universities were the first to have their Master of Optometry undergraduate qualifications approved, while UCLan and ABDO were the first providers to meet the new requirements for dispensing.

Brooker described the process of updating the qualifications to meet the new requirements as a “cross-sector effort" thanking all involved, “including providers for engaging constructively with our processes and GOC staff who have supported providers as they transition.”

He added that discussions indicate most other providers wish to adapt remaining qualifications for delivery from September 2024.

The updated qualifications will remain subject to the GOC’s quality assurance process.

OT understands that providers intending to implement updated qualifications in September 2024 (subject to GOC approval), include the University of Huddersfield, University of Bradford, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Manchester, Teesside University, and the University of the West of England.

This winter, OT will be delving into topics around education, regulation and reform in optometry. If you have any questions about the ETR or other changes in the profession that OT could explore, get in touch with the newsdesk.