The General Optical Council, as the profession’s regulatory body, sets the rules and requirements for the minimum continuing education and training (CET) optometrists must do just in order to maintain their registration to practice.
A new three-year CET cycle began on 1 January 2016. It will end on 31 December 2018. Find out how we can help you gain the points you need.
To maintain GOC registration, optometrists must meet all of the GOC’s minimum CET requirements by 31 December in the last year of the cycle (so by 31 December 2018 for the 2016-18 cycle).
Unless you advise the GOC of special circumstances in advance and receive special dispensation, there is no automatic shortfall period. So if you fail to meet the minimum requirement by 31 December in the last year of the cycle the GOC may remove you from the register and you will not be able to practice until you have undertaken a restoration process.
If you qualify or return to the register part way through a year you should contact the GOC directly to confirm how many CET points you will be required to complete as this may differ (pro-rata) from the normal requirements.
In the main, the minimum requirements for 2016-18 will remain the same as for 2013-15, but there are a few new elements members should be aware of, relating to standards of practice and setting personal learning goals. Find out more about these new elements.
To maintain GOC registration all optometrists must:
If you are a therapeutic specialist optometrist, in addition to the 36 general CET points, you must also gain 18 points from therapeutics specialist CET activities over the three years, at a rate of six a year. So there are 12 points in total that you must gain as a bare minimum each year - six general and six specialist. Remember that even if all your specialist points are gained from interactive CET activities, you still have to gain at least half your general points from interactive activities too. Your peer review or peer discussion cases must relate to therapeutics. Find out more about becoming a therapeutic specialist.
Optometry Tomorrow 2016 will offer independent prescribers the opportunity to gain up to eight interactive speciality CET points, including a therapeutic case-based peer discussion group.
You manage your CET points in the MyGOC section of the GOC website. The site shows you if you have reached your minimum number of points for the year, and will also show you if you still have to gain points in any competency area.
CET points you have earned are uploaded to the GOC site by the provider of the CET, and you will receive an automated alert that they are awaiting your verification. You have to verify any points on MyGOC before they will show up in your account. You will be asked to give feedback and to complete a reflection statement when required in order to verify your points, so remember to do this as soon after the activity as you can so it is still fresh in your mind. Your feedback will be anonymised and made available to providers to ensure activities are of high quality.
More interactivity = more points
To encourage you to do more interactive CET, you’ll notice that the number of CET points will normally increase depending on how interactive the activity is. For example, attending a workshop at Optometry Tomorrow will gain three interactive points, while answering a set of multiple-choice questions on an article in Optometry in Practice will be worth one non-interactive point.
Peer review and peer discussion
You must take part in at least one peer review or discussion session during the three year cycle, but we would strongly encourage you to undertake more of these sessions. Most optometrists find it a really useful and enjoyable way of sharing knowledge and ideas with colleagues, keeping up-to-date and learning how to deal with particular cases.
Whilst many people take part in large peer discussion sessions using example cases, the College would also encourage members to try taking part in smaller peer review groups where participants use their own cases, as this is a very beneficial learning experience.