AOP concerns over new GOC standards of practice

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) congratulates the General Optical Council (GOC) on its consultation on the new standards of practice

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has congratulated the General Optical Council (GOC) on its consultation on the new standards of practice - which were approved at the GOC Council on Wednesday 29 July - but expressed concerns about some of the decisions taken to be implemented in April 2016. 

Trevor Warburton, Chairman of AOP’s Policy Committee, said: “While we were delighted to see that some of our members’ concerns have been addressed, we feel that some of the standards could be more reflective of today`s practice.” 

The AOP believes that, by leaving business registrants governed by the current code of conduct while imposing stricter duties on individuals, the GOC is not solving the current inequalities of obligation between individual registrants and business registrants. The GOC, the College of Optometrists and the AOP have all reported recently that practitioners are increasingly expressing concerns about commercial pressure, with regards to both throughput of patients and conversion rates. The AOP feels that registered businesses should operate under the same obligations as individuals. The GOC say that they will develop new standards of practices for business registrants at a later, as yet undefined, date. 

The AOP feels that some of the standards could be difficult for employees to comply with, for example around maintenance of equipment or accessibility of records. The AOP`s legal team is worried that the new standards will leave some members unable to meet some expectations. The GOC has also drafted new standards for students which align closely to those for qualified individual registrants. The AOP believes that these standards do not take sufficient account of students’ level of experience and confidence, and the fact that their professional judgement is not yet fully developed, bearing in mind that the standards must be met by students from the beginning of their first year. 

Kevin Thompson, AOP Chairman, added: “We look forward to working closely with the GOC to make sure members understand their duties under the new standards.” 

Ends For more information, please contact Anne Grenyer, PR and Media Manager at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2063. 

Notes to Editors 

Association of Optometrists 

Set up in 1946, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading professional membership organisation for optometrists and other optical professionals in the UK. We offer protection, support and representation to our 16,000+ members, throughout their careers, with a range of valued services and benefits. The AOP is a founding member of the Optical Confederation.