What did your previous role involve?
My role was in case preparation and presentation in the fitness to practise (FTP) directorate at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). I represented the NMC as the regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK in FTP hearings before fitness to practise panels. I would review the evidence gathered and draft allegations. I would then present the case before a FTP panel.
As a newcomer to optics, what have been your impressions of how the General Optical Council (GOC) operates?
The GOC operates in a very similar way to the NMC from the moment a referral is made about a registrant. The complaint is then investigated and a decision is made as to whether the complaint should be referred to a FTP panel. The panel hears all of the evidence presented by the GOC and the registrant and then decides if the facts alleged are proved.
If they decide they are, the panel then moves on to consider whether the registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired. If they decide that it is, the panel will then consider what sanction to impose. So, the processes are almost identical to the NMC’s. The purpose of the GOC and other UK regulators is the protection of the public and upholding public interest and confidence in each respective profession.
“Having worked for a regulator, I can draw on this experience to help the AOP provide the best possible advice and assistance to our membership”
Would you say your NMC experience informs your approach to your new role?
Yes, it does. Having worked for a regulator, I can draw on this experience to help the AOP provide the best possible advice and assistance to our membership if they become the subject of a GOC investigation and subsequent FTP proceedings.
How have you found the GOC workload?
It is definitely increasing. We have dealt with 12 interim orders this year – more than the total for all of 2018. In nine of those cases, we successfully argued for no order to be imposed.
Image credit: Will Amlot