The General Optical Council (GOC) has confirmed that it will perform a review of the education in the optical sector.
The review, announced in the regulator’s 2016–17 business plan, aims to ensure that all qualifications that lead to GOC registration prepare optometrists and dispensing opticians for the professional roles they will perform on qualification. Through the review, the GOC will also consider the standards of competence that students are required to meet and how they are assessed.
The GOC said that it would defer work in other areas to ensure that it is able to provide sufficient resources to perform the review, including deferring the development of new standards for optical businesses, as well as work to develop a voluntary code of practice for online contact lens sellers.
Commenting on the strategic review, GOC chief executive and registrar, Samantha Peters, said: “The optical professions are changing fast and the courses which lead to qualification as a dispensing optician, contact lens optician, optometrist or independent prescriber must ensure they reflect this in the future.
“We will be consulting widely with stakeholders to consider how education should change in the future, particularly to reflect registrants’ greater roles in providing enhanced services and technological change.
“Clearly, this project is a big undertaking but it is essential to ensure long-term patient safety. Because of its wide scope, we will be deferring some other activities until next year to ensure that we can carry out all our projects with sufficient thought, resource and stakeholder engagement.”
The AOP's head of education, Dr Ian Beasley, said: "As a major stakeholder, the AOP look forward to working alongside the GOC in exploring the evolving educational needs of practitioners across the sector."