AOP responds to the GOC's change of plan on the CET review

As the GOC confirms that major changes to CET will now be delayed until 2022 the AOP warns the regulator that it must raise its game on planning and delivery

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has welcomed the General Optical Council’s (GOC) decision to change its plans for ongoing professional training in 2019, while warning that the regulator must raise its game on planning and delivering major projects.

The GOC’s Council today agreed to a major change in the timetable for the Continuing Education and Training (CET) review. The GOC had previously intended that 2019 would be a ‘transitional year’ for CET, ahead of major changes to be introduced in a new three-year cycle starting in January 2020. The GOC has now decided to begin a new three-year cycle under its current rules next January, with changes being introduced in 2022.

Henrietta Alderman, Chief Executive of the AOP, said:

“We are keen to see the GOC’s CET scheme become more flexible and self-directed, to support optical professionals in taking on expanded clinical roles.

“But during the past six months we have become increasingly concerned that the GOC would not meet the ambitious reform timetable it had set itself. In September we urged the GOC to urgently review whether it could deliver reforms in time for 2020 – and advised that if not, it should drop its plans for a transitional year. 

“We are pleased that the GOC listened to our advice and has now reset the timetable. We look forward to working with the new leadership team at the GOC to ensure that the new scheme, to be introduced in 2022, is as effective as possible.

“However, while we welcome the GOC’s decision, it has come very late for education providers and practitioners. We hope and expect that the GOC will learn lessons about the need for its major policy projects to be carefully planned, given the impact that late changes can have on us and those they regulate.

“The AOP will now work with our members to ensure that they are clear about what they will need to do to meet the GOC’s requirements in January and beyond.”


For more information, please contact Emily Campbell, Interim PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit

GOC consultation 

The AOP called for the GOC to review the timetable for its CET review in their response to a GOC consultation in September 2018. The Association’s response is available in full here.