Optometrists and dispensing opticians at all stages of their careers have been asked by the General Optical Council (GOC) for their insight into the best way to educate the next generation of professionals.
The optical regulator’s long-awaited education review was launched for consultation this week (15 December).
The work aims to ensure that the training programmes and qualifications leading to GOC registration meet the needs of patients in the future, as technology and the ageing population impact the provision of eye care, the regulator said.
GOC strategy director, Alistair Bridge, invited feedback from professionals, students, education providers, employers, patient representatives, professional bodies commissioners and fellow regulators.
He highlighted that: “The optical sector is undergoing major change and we must be forward thinking. Optical professionals will need to be fully equipped to tackle the challenges of the coming decades, working closely with other professionals, particularly ophthalmologists, orthoptists and ophthalmic nurses, as part of a flexible healthcare workforce.”
Mr Bridge added: “If we are to make the best possible improvements to the system, it is essential that we hear from a wide range of voices. This is a great opportunity to influence the future direction of the optical professions, so I strongly encourage everyone with an interest in eye care to let us know their views.”
AOP chief executive, Henrietta Alderman, welcomed the opportunity to contribute. She described the review as “a key priority for the sector and a focus area for the AOP’s policy work.”
Ms Alderman emphasised to OT that: "[The Association is] pleased to see that the review has a broad scope – considering the challenges and opportunities of the long-term future, as well addressing the needs of the profession in the context of multi-disciplinary working."
“In anticipation of the review, we have taken some successful preparatory steps in 2016, through the work of the AOP Policy Committee and Council, to develop our thinking. We look forward to engaging with the GOC and, in due course, we will look to our members for input into our final response,” she concluded.
The call for evidence will be open until 16 March. To find out more, or to participate, visit the GOC website.