‘Appetite for change’ identified by the GOC’s CET consultation

The consultation reports that stakeholders are concerned that aspects of the CET scheme may not be suitable in the future


The General Optical Council (GOC) has reported that its registrants have “a strong appetite” for increased control over their learning and development.

The finding is a result of the regulator’s recent Fit for the Future Continuing Education and Training (CET) consultation.

Of the 994 responses that the consultation received, the GOC has revealed that while registrants reacted positively towards the current CET scheme, many stakeholder organisations were concerned that some aspects of the scheme may not be suitable in the future.

Organisations responding to the consultation called for changes, including a more central role for peer review, the correct balance between autonomous and mandatory learning, more support for registrants around reflective practice and a greater emphasis on professional development.

Interim director of education at the GOC, Dr Subo Shanmuganathan, shared that the Fit for the Future consultation “was triggered by the changing demands expected of optical services.”

She explained: "Technology is affecting the ways in which diseases of the eye are diagnosed and monitored, and an ageing population is placing increased pressure on hospital eye services, GPs and A&E.

"In the future, GOC registrants will be expected to do more clinical work and it is essential that CET is developed to address these multiple challenges. I thank all our registrants and stakeholders who took part in the consultation and look forward to working with them next year to develop a scheme that is truly fit for the future."

Speaking about the consultation's findings, the AOP's chief executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: "It is encouraging to see support for change highlighted in the GOC’s consultation report, particularly the focus on more flexible learning opportunities for registrants.

"We also welcome the emphasis on peer review led learning. As highlighted in the AOP’s consultation response, reforms are needed to make peer review learning opportunities more accessible and meaningful. We know from our members that the current processes for setting up peer reviews are too cumbersome, excluding many professionals from maximising their value.

"We look forward to working with the GOC in the future to help ensure education requirements reflect the needs of our members, and the changing profession."

The GOC confirmed that it will build on the feedback received through the consultation to shape how the scheme will change from 2022.

The current three-year CET cycle closes on 31 December, with the next cycle confirmed as running from January 2019 to December 2021 under the same rules.

The consultation is available on the GOC website