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Overseeing optics

The GOC’s chief executive, Vicky McDermott, tells OT  working with registrants is more effective than “standing in the corner being the police”

24 Oct 2017 by Selina Powell

Vicky McDermott took up the role of chief executive and registrar for the General Optical Council (GOC) in September. She has previously held roles with disability charity, The Papworth Trust, the NHS Business Services Authority and in the private sector for BT.

Why were you interested in working for the GOC?

I thought the GOC was a really interesting organisation. I did a small piece of work when I was in the NHS looking at how the General Ophthalmic Services system and approach might be improved. I was really interested in the sector and enjoyed working with the optical profession. That balance of the clinical and the commercial makes it fascinating, particularly at this point in time as there is so much happening in the sector.

For me a key driver in my work throughout my career is to do something that makes an impact. Through regulation we are able to help patients and practitioners. That is what motivates me in this role. Undoubtedly there will be difficult days in the job, but that will keep me getting up and going to work the next morning.

"From my own experience, I know that working with people is much more effective than standing in the corner being the police. Ultimately, the GOC and the registrants are working towards the same goal of driving great patient outcomes"

What are key priorities for you while at the GOC? 

The team has done some great work towards bringing fitness to practise times down and that will be a key focus going forward. I think the work on the Education Strategic Review is incredibly exciting because it is a real opportunity to have an impact not just now but for the next generation.

The people who we are training at the moment are potentially going to be practising until 2060. If you bear that in mind, the Education Strategic Review is such an important thing to get right and to do that we need input from the sector.

More broadly, we need to consider what the future looks like and how we will continue to ensure that we are as efficient as we possibly can be as an organisation. How do we make sure that we are agile enough to be able to respond to the ongoing changes in the world of optics?

How have you found the job so far? 

A really welcoming, committed group of people work here at the GOC. I am optimistic that with such an experienced and focused team that we can do some really good things.

For me good leadership is about making sure that we listen. I want the GOC to be a listening organisation and I need to role model that. We are keen to hear from and engage with different people. From my own experience, I know that working with people is much more effective than standing in the corner being the police. Ultimately, the GOC and the registrants are working towards the same goal of driving great patient outcomes. We have a lot more in common than that which divides us.

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