A Plymouth-based optometrist has been suspended from the General Optical Council (GOC) registers for 12 months. Lionel Watson will now be unable to practice in the UK until the suspension is period is over.
Mr Watson’s fitness to practise was found to be impaired by virtue of misconduct. He failed to perform tonometry on six patients, as well as dishonesty fabricating measurements in patients’ records.
Commenting on the suspension, chair of the Fitness to Practise committee that heard the case, Pamela Ormerod, said: “The registrant exposed six patients to an unwarranted risk of harm and brought the profession into disrepute. He breached fundamental tenets of the profession with regard to patient care and honesty. The committee also bore in mind the seriousness of dishonesty involving a fabrication of patient records in a profession that relies upon public confidence in the honesty of its practitioners, and proper records being made for optimal patient safety.”
Ms Ormerod continued: “[However], he has had a long-standing unblemished career with no other referrals to his regulator and has expressed regret. The committee concluded that despite the dishonesty, in all the particular circumstances of this case [accounting for the mitigation advanced], the misconduct is not fundamentally incompatible with continuing to be on the register. The committee has decided that a suspension order for 12 months is appropriate and proportionate.”
Mr Watson has until 28 March to appeal his suspension, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate order.