The General Optical Council (GOC) has removed 171 registrants from its registers for failing to renew their registration for 2017/2018.
The group that are no longer eligible to practise in the UK includes 51 optometrists, 89 dispensing opticians and 31 bodies corporate.
GOC head of registration, Michelle Norman, told OT that she was pleased that the vast majority of registrants applied for renewal on time.
Less than 1% of registrants were removed from the registers this year after missing the renewal deadline.
Ms Norman highlighted that changes had been made to the renewal process to make it more cost-effective and efficient.
“This year we decided to no longer issue registration cards as they are only valid on the day that they are issued and don’t prove that an individual or business is registered,” she explained.
The best way to check registration status was the online register, which had the most up-to-date information, Ms Norman elaborated.
Renewal notices were sent by email this year instead of post, and registrants also received confirmation of renewal by email.
“We expect to save at least £50,000 annually from these changes,” she highlighted.
Registrants who have been removed from the register but wish to continue to practise were encouraged to complete a restoration form and pay a £420 restoration fee.
Individual practitioners were also required to provide evidence that they had met the necessary CET requirements over the past year.
AOP legal and regulatory director, Gerda Goldinger, told OT that members were advised to check their registration status on the GOC website.
“If a member is no longer on the register they should contact the AOP immediately for legal and regulatory guidance,” she highlighted.
“All members should be aware that if they have been removed from the register as a result of missing the renewals deadline, they must not practise until they have been reinstated,” Ms Goldinger concluded.