AOP members urged to respond to GOC

The Association of Optometrists is encouraging its members to respond to the General Optical Council’s consultation on its standards of practice

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The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has issued a call for its members to read and respond to the General Optical Council’s (GOC) consultation on its standards of practice for optometrists, dispensing opticians and students.  

Highlighting the importance of responding, the AOP has produced a quick and easy online guide to help members identify the most important issues and to inform them how to respond to the GOC. 

The AOP has three main concerns regarding the standards as they are currently drafted. A main concern is that the draft standards are only for individual registrants, and there are no standards defined for registered bodies corporate. 

A second concern is that some of the draft standards are not achievable for all registrants, with many not being within the power of the individual, such as the standards about maintenance of equipment, data storage standards and ensuring that colleagues have appropriate language skills.

The AOP also feels that the draft standards of practice for student registrants are not appropriate, taking no account of students’ level of experience and responsibility. It does not believe that standards for students are necessary.  

AOP policy director, David Craig, said: “These standards have been poorly thought out; as drafted they show how out of touch the GOC is with the way practices work and where responsibility lies. Many registrants will be unable to meet all the standards – through no fault of their own. In a survey of AOP members, the main concern raised by employees was that commercial pressure from employers could impact on professional standards. By failing to introduce standards for bodies corporate at the same time as for individuals, the GOC is providing no support at all for those practitioners.”

The consultation remains open until 7 June.