Dispensing optician suspended

Failures in patient care and record keeping have seen a Dumfries practitioner sanctioned by the General Optical Council

21 Mar 2017 by Selina Powell

Not supplying a patient with appropriate spectacles or a refund after taking payment has resulted in a dispensing optician being suspended for six-months.

Dumfries dispensing optician Alexander Bruce Farquharson, of Solway Optical, was sanctioned by a General Optical Council (GOC) fitness to practise committee in a decision released on Monday (20 March).

The committee found Mr Farquharson’s fitness to practise was impaired by virtue of failures relating to patient care and record keeping.

Mr Farquharson supplied varifocal lenses to a patient following a sight test in June 2013 and the practice took a payment of £529 for the spectacles.

However, the patient was struggling to see with the new spectacles and returned to the store. A replacement pair of single vision spectacles that the patient wore for several days were also found to be unsuitable.

Following a further sight test, the patient was told that a new pair of single vision spectacles would be ordered for him. However, when the patient arrived at Solway Optical to collect his spectacles following a holiday, he discovered the business had shut down.

The patient tried to contact Mr Farquharson by email, phone and social media, but was unsuccessful in securing a refund or suitable pair of spectacles.

GOC fitness to practise committee chair, Anne Johnstone, said Mr Farquharson failed to provide an adequate standard of care to his patient and did not arrange for the transfer of patient medical records after Solway Optical closed.

“The committee found that his conduct amounted to a serious breach of the GOC’s standards. The registrant had not engaged, demonstrated insight nor offered evidence of any attempt to remedy his misconduct,” Ms Johnstone emphasised.

The committee considered that erasure from the register would be a disproportionate sanction, given that Mr Farquharson’s conduct was not “fundamentally incompatible” with continued registration, she added.

Mr Farquharson has until 14 April to appeal his suspension.

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