GOC shares findings from therapeutic prescribing research

Evidence suggests therapeutic prescribing has a positive impact on enhanced services, while a placement bottleneck is among barriers identified

GOC reception

The General Optical Council (GOC) has shared findings from a literature review on optometrist therapeutic prescribing (OTP) led by researchers at the University of Surrey.

The review will inform GOC plans to update the education and training requirements for additional supply, supplementary prescribing and independent prescribing qualifications.

The review incorporated 13 systematic reviews, 11 articles (eight empirical and three reviews), and eight conversations held with key stakeholders involved in OTP across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

The authors shared that the limited evidence base on OTP indicates that it has “a positive impact within enhanced services in community and acute settings.”

Barriers identified through the report included difficulties accessing clinical practice training and limited infrastructure to support non-medical prescribing – such as access to a prescription pad and prescribing budget.

The authors concluded that there is potential to improve the sustainability of OTP roles through greater recognition and support of OTP scope of practice.

“The recommendations of this review are timely given the role of non-medical prescribing in improving service capacity to meet increasing demand for medication,” they highlighted.

GOC director of education, Leonie Milliner, shared that the optical regulator will consult on changes to the education and training requirements for the three GOC-approved OTP qualifications in July, alongside similar requirements for contact lens opticians.

The GOC is specifically considering the integration of theoretical and clinical competencies, removing the current two-year registration requirement prior to undertaking a clinical placement and permitting suitably experienced optometrists to supervise trainees.

“This approach would allow optometrists to study prescribing concurrently with a GOC-approved pre-registration qualification in optometry,” Milliner highlighted.