GOC consultation on revised Standards of Practice opens

Steve Brooker, GOC director of regulatory strategy, highlighted the importance of the consultation to ensure the proposed changes are clear, proportionate, and reflect the current context

A wooden reception desk with the word ‘welcome’ printed in white letters sits in front of a grey wall. On the wall, the blue lettering of the General Optical Council logo is printed.

The General Optical Council (GOC) has launched a consultation on revised Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, Standards for Optical Students, and Standards for Optical Businesses.

The GOC launched a Standards Review in April 2023 to revise and update the existing standards of practice, seeking to ensure these remain fit for purpose and reflect the current context of training and practice.

The launch of the new consultation follows 12 months of stakeholder engagement.

Feedback from registrants and optical organisations, as well as research into patient and public views conducted by Shift Insight, informed the revisions to the new draft standards.

Proposed changes aim to improve public protection, such as strengthening the standards in relation to the care of patients in vulnerable circumstances, as well as the use of artificial intelligence.

New standards have been added to set clear expectations in managing communicable diseases and sexual harassment, the GOC has said. 

Steve Brooker, GOC director of regulatory strategy, expressed gratitude to all who had contributed to helping shape the proposals.

He said: “The current standards have served the sector well and will remain mostly unchanged. However, we are proposing important revisions to bring the standards up to date with developments in technology, strengthen protection for patients in vulnerable circumstances and address negative behaviours in the workplace.”

Emphasising the importance of engaging with the consultation, Brooker shared: “It’s extremely important for us to hear from as many stakeholders as possible to ensure that the proposed changes are clear, proportionate, and reflect the current context in which registrants practise, students are trained, and businesses operate.”

Feedback received through the consultation will be analysed to inform the final revisions to the standards.

The consultation can be accessed on the GOC’s Consultation Hub in English and Welsh and both full and partial responses to the consultation in either language are welcome. 

The consultation closes on 8 May 2024.

The AOP will be in communication with members in due course, regarding what it will be doing as part of the consultation, and how members can get involved.