Research released by the General Optical Council (GOC) reports that the majority of the UK optical profession are confident in applying the regulator’s new Standards of Practice, which came into force in April last year.
Data published by the GOC showed that 85% of registrants feel confident in their ability to meet the standards, while 91% of optometrist and dispensing optician respondents said they had a good understanding of them.
The survey was sent to all practitioners registered with the GOC and received more than 4000 responses.
Reflecting on the findings, the GOC’s director of strategy, Alistair Bridge, said: “We have worked hard to communicate and actively promote the new standards to registrants. It is therefore pleasing to see that registrants are responding positively. Most importantly, we are pleased that respondents feel confident in their ability to apply the new standards in their daily practice.”
Further findings showed that 65% of practitioners felt that the way they practise was improved as a result of completing CET and that they found value in undertaking CET, particularly peer review.
Seeking a better understanding of registrants’ views on the annual retention process, 93% of registrants said their experience of the process was ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’
Respondents were asked to comment on how well the regulator carries out its role. Just 13% of respondents said they felt that the GOC was unfair when taking action through the fitness to practise process. However, 40% of registrants said they did not know.
Discussing this finding, Mr Bridge said: “These figures indicate that many registrants do not have much knowledge of how the fitness to practise process works – and of course only a very small proportion of registrants have direct experience of it.”
As a result of the findings, Mr Bridge confirmed that the GOC would “be doing more to explain how we ensure that registrants are treated fairly during the fitness to practise process and we will also be raising awareness of our wider role in supporting all registrants as we promote higher standards across the sector.”