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  • You must be honest and trustworthy.
  • You must make the care of the patient your first and continuing concern.
  • You must not discriminate against patients or colleagues.
  • You must act quickly to protect patients from risks posed by colleagues.
  • You must inform the General Optical Council (GOC) of any matter that may impair your fitness to practise.
  • You must declare to the GOC all criminal convictions, cautions and disciplinary proceedings, except minor road traffic offences.
  • You must co-operate with inquiries, fitness to practise hearings and complaints procedures.
  • Your financial and commercial practices must not compromise patient safety. 
  • You must not accept inducements or gifts that may be seen as affecting your patient care.
  • You must be honest in your financial and commercial dealings with patients and all other parties.
  • You must be covered by adequate and appropriate insurance to practise in the United Kingdom throughout the period of your registration.
D1
This Guidance does not change what you must do under the law.
D2
You must be honest and trustworthy.289
Patients
D3
You must make the care of the patient your first and continuing concern (refer to COVID-19 guidance).
D4
You must ensure your conduct, whether or not connected to your professional practice, does not damage public confidence in you or your profession (refer to COVID-19 guidance).
D5
You must treat every patient politely and considerately.
D6
You must respect patients’ dignity and privacy.
D7
You must not allow your personal views to adversely affect your relationship with patients.
D8
You should tell patients if any investigation or treatment you recommend is not supported by evidence or by established practice.
D9
You are not obliged to see a patient, provided you have reasonable grounds for your decision, such as a threat to your safety or that of your colleagues or the public. You should record your reasons for refusal.
D10
You must not discriminate against patients on the grounds of:290
  1. age
  2. disability
  3. gender reassignment
  4. marriage and civil partnership
  5. pregnancy and maternity
  6. race
  7. religion or belief
  8. sex
  9. sexual orientation.
D11
You must stop practising if your fitness to practise is affected by your physical or mental health and may put others at risk.
Colleagues
D12
You must work with colleagues in ways that best serve patients’ interests and communicate effectively with them.
D13
You must not make any patient doubt the knowledge or skills of colleagues or other health care professionals by making unnecessary or unfounded comments about them, either privately or publicly, for example through social media.
D14
You must act quickly to protect patients from risks posed by colleagues. The safety of patients must come first. If you have serious concerns about any practitioner’s fitness to practise you should raise this with them first if you feel able to. If necessary, you should escalate your concerns to an appropriate person. This could be the colleague’s line manager, employer, or person in a primary care organisation or hospital. If you remain concerned you should consult the relevant professional, representative or regulatory body.
D15
Raising a concern is different from making a complaint. If you make a complaint, you might be asked for evidence to prove your case. When you raise a concern, you should not be expected to prove the issue you are concerned about. If you are not sure whether you should act, ask yourself:
  1. what might the outcome be in the short- or longer-term if I do not raise my concern?
  2. how could I justify not raising the concern?
D16
You must treat your colleagues fairly. You must not discriminate against colleagues, see paragraph paragraph C171. You must not allow your personal views to adversely affect your relationship with them.
D17
If you receive a prescription for dispensing from another practitioner and there is an anomaly or a complaint of non-tolerance after dispensing, you should contact the prescribing practitioner. You should agree a course of action with them and the patient. The Optical Confederation has produced guidance on this.291

References

290 Equality Act 2010 [Accessed 3 Dec 2020]
291 Optical Confederation (2018) Second pair and non-tolerance applications – England [Accessed 3 Dec 2020]
D18
You must follow the law.
D19
You must inform the General Optical Council (GOC), all relevant authorities and your employers if there are any matters relating to your character, behaviour, judgement or health that may impair your fitness to practise.292
D20
You must declare to the GOC and all relevant authorities all criminal convictions, cautions and disciplinary proceedings, including minor misdemeanours, but not road traffic offences which are dealt with by a fixed penalty notice.
D21
You must co-operate with formal and informal investigations, fitness to practise hearings and complaints about you or colleagues, while following guidance on confidentiality.293
D22
The College has produced guidance for optometrists who undertake work as expert witnesses.294
D23
You must ensure that your financial and commercial practices do not compromise patient safety.
D24
You must be honest in your financial and commercial dealings with patients, colleagues, employers, insurers and other organisations.
D25
You must not accept inducements or gifts that may be seen as affecting your patient care or your recommendation of a course of action, for example referring a patient to a particular clinic.295
D26
You must never accept gifts, hospitality or bequests that may affect, or be seen to affect, your professional judgement or the public’s trust in the profession. You must also not put pressure on patients or their families to make donations to other people or organisations.
D27
You must declare any conflict, or perceived conflict of interest. This applies to your practice as well as to related activities such as attending meetings and giving lectures.
D28
You must only refer a patient to a colleague if this is in the patient’s best interests, rather than for your own, or a colleague’s, financial gain or benefit.
See section on Partnership with patients.

References

295 Bribery Act 2010 [Accessed 20 Nov 2020]
D29
You must have an appropriate level of professional indemnity and, where appropriate, product liability insurance.296
D30
You must ensure that your insurance covers any changes in your scope of practice and responsibilities.
D31
You must ensure that your insurance cover continues if you:
  1. change insurers
  2. take a career break
  3. stop practising, since claims can be made many years after an event.
D32
You should gain a full understanding of the nature of the cover available and the difference between ‘claims made’ and ‘claims occurring’ insurance before choosing your insurer.
D33
In a ‘claims made’ insurance plan, your membership of the plan at the time the claim is made is what determines eligibility for cover. It works on the basis that all claims made while you are a member of a ‘claims made’ insurance plan are covered, even if the incidents which give rise to the claim occurred when you were not a member. This means that the claim must be made while you are a member of the plan. All incidents in your past are covered, even if they happened before you joined that insurance plan. When you leave a ‘claims made’ plan you should take out run-off cover from your previous insurer, or retrospective cover from your new insurer, to ensure that your insurance for past events continues. Your insurer can arrange that cover for you.
D34
In a ‘claims occurring’ insurance plan, your membership of the plan at the time of an incident which later gives rise to the claim is what determines your eligibility for cover. It works on the basis that any event that occurs during the period for which you have bought cover will be insured, even if the claim arises in a period during which you are no longer a member of that plan. If, after you cease to be a member of a ‘claims occurring’ plan, a claim is made against you regarding an event that occurred while you were a member of the plan, then claims relating to that incident will be covered. If you move from a ‘claims made’ insurer to a ‘claims occurring’ insurer you need to make sure that you buy run-off cover from your previous insurer, or retrospective cover from your new insurer for the period you were in practice before joining the ‘claims occurring’ plan. Your insurer can arrange that cover for you.
D35
If you are a locum or work in more than one business, you should be fully acquainted with the extent and nature of the insurance policy or policies which cover your work for each business. If you rely on one employer’s insurance, you should be aware that one employer’s cover may not extend to another employer.

References

296 Opticians Act 1989 s.10A [Accessed 20 Nov 2020]