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Locum digest

The scenario: pre-reg supervision by locum optometrists

Head of clinical and regulatory at the AOP, Henry Leonard, answers a reader’s query about pre-registration supervision by locum optometrists

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The scenario: an OT reader asks…

There is an increasing expectation on locum practitioners to supervise pre-registration students. Whilst most of us don’t mind, we don’t like the assumption that the locum will ‘just do it’ if they have been employed to work for the day. Sometimes you can arrive in-practice and discover this is the case and are not even asked. I would like to know, what are the rules around the supervision of pre-reg optometrists by locums? Is there an obligation on locum optometrists to supervise pre-registration optometrists?

The reply: AOP head of clinical and regulatory, Henry Leonard

Henry Leonard
AOP head of clinical and regulatory, Henry Leonard
The College of Optometrists no longer allows temporary or secondary supervisors, but you may be asked to act as an 'additional supervisor.’ Additional supervisors must have two years' post-qualification experience and, if they are an optometrist, they must be a member of the College of Optometrists. Additional supervisors do not need to complete the College's supervision training, although it is recommended.

You should only agree to become an additional supervisor if you feel able to do so safely and meet the criteria. The practice should allow sufficient time for you to manage patients in your own clinic, alongside those of the pre-reg trainee, and explain what stage the trainee is at in their Scheme for Registration; a student who is approaching their Objective Structured Clinical Examinations will require less supervision than one who is just starting their training period. Principal supervisors retain overall responsibility for ensuring that additional supervision is appropriate.

The practice should make it clear if they want you to supervise a pre-registration trainee in advance, and if you are agree to do so, the practice may be willing to offer a higher daily rate for your services.

OT  asks...

Have you been asked to supervise pre-registration optometrists while working as a locum?
  • Yes – only once or occasionally

    40 52%
  • Yes, I receive this request often

    20 26%
  • No

    11 14%
  • No – I do not work as a locum optometrist

    5 6%