The AOP has encouraged the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to engage with optical sector bodies and optical registrants to help build confidence in the professional regulatory system.
A consultation on the PSA’s approach to reviewing regulators closed on 4 March. The AOP’s response to the consultation is available online.
The PSA carries out annual performance reviews of 10 healthcare regulators in the UK, including the GOC. The consultation suggested moving to less frequent reviews of each regulator, with the potential for each regulator to be reviewed only every five years.
A report published following each review assesses the regulator’s performance against the Standards of Good Regulation.
AOP policy officer, Saqib Ahmad, highlighted that the PSA has an important role in ensuring that healthcare regulators are fulfilling their responsibilities properly.
“In our response we have argued that the PSA must monitor emerging risks carefully if it moves to a more targeted approach for reviewing regulator performance. We think that the PSA should also do more to understand the risks involved in optical practice and should engage with registrants to help build confidence in the regulatory system,” he said.
Ahmad noted that moving towards a more targeted approach could improve efficiency, but the PSA must ensure that it monitors emerging risks in each healthcare regulator’s performance.
The AOP is calling for the PSA to conduct reviews of healthcare regulators against all performance standards at least every three years.
Ahmad emphasised that the PSA needs to have a good understanding of how the optical sector works and should engage with optical sector bodies and registrants.
“It should improve its understanding of the nature of the main risks to patients, which in the optical sector includes illegal practice by non-registrants, and the context within which optical registrants practice,” he said.