Removing the stress
No professional organisation in the sector can match the AOP’s record or the support it gives to make sure members can practise with confidence, writes Henrietta Alderman
How can you practice with confidence? One way is to keep as current, skilled and up to date as possible.
Another is knowing that your representative body is protecting you. That level of comfort, which is at the heart of the AOP’s support for members, cannot be underestimated. Our series of Who’s got your back? videos demonstrates the difference that the AOP’s support makes when you need it most.
All professionals fear receiving a letter from their regulator as a result of a complaint or allegation relating to professional performance or conduct. Members are encouraged to notify the AOP legal team from the outset. We then assist in drafting the response, obtaining a clinical opinion and supporting members through the process. It can be lengthy and stressful and the AOP team of experienced lawyers do all they can to alleviate that pressure and achieve the best possible outcome for members. There is no organisation in the sector that can match our record or the support we give.
Ensuring that members are reminded of the pitfalls and how to avoid them is the other side of the coin. The most common reasons for a General Optical Council (GOC) investigation include record keeping deficiencies, failure to refer appropriately, failure to carry out clinically necessary ancillary examinations and failure to interpret additional information correctly. The AOP’s comprehensive CET programme aims to keep these issues constantly on the clinician’s radar. Our two On the record CET films – A complaint has been made and A team under pressure highlight all these issues within a real life optical practice setting. They are a must-view.
Our theme for 2018 has been education and we have delivered 40% more education this year and increased our geographical spread as well as focusing on specific groups such as our locum members.
We have delivered 40% more education this year and increased our geographical spread, as well as focusing on specific groups
Support when it matters
There are many ways that members can access our advice and education, including the legal roadshows, peer discussions and online resources. These resources include Making Accurate Claims, our Safe Practice series and other member guidance. These are augmented by the tips and advice that we give via email, which aim to keep members practising safely. In addition, members wishing to get a quick view from peers or AOP advisers have access to our community forums.
Opportunities for delivering extended eye care and other services within the community continue to grow. Our independent practitioners day (held in partnership with the AIO and ABDO) showcased how some practices were successfully diversifying, refocusing or embedding an NHS community service. The Dudley Healthy Living Optical Practice initiative was a good example of this and one which is to be replicated in other parts of the country. The AOP medical malpractice insurance keeps pace with all these developments for members.
But one thing is for sure: any complaint, whether it comes from the GOC or directly from a patient, is immensely stressful for members. In addition to the expert legal and clinical advice from the AOP, there is also the AOP Peer Support Line, which provides a confidential ear from an understanding peer. If you see a colleague struggling, encourage them to get in touch.
Image credit: Getty