Guidance review 2020

Tell us your views on the proposed changes to the Guidance for Professional Practice.

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Please read through the Summary of Changes below. Tell us your views on these changes by completing the questionnaire at the bottom of this page by 31 March 2020.

The Guidance for Professional Practice is the College’s view of good optometric practice and is publically available. The Guidance is reviewed every three years, and was last published in late 2017. The review process includes a public consultation on the content of the Guidance and is split into two parts:

  1. Knowledge, Skills and Performance domain (reviewed October/November 2019 - view the responses)
  2. Safety and quality, Communication partnership and teamwork, and Maintaining trust domains 

We will collate all comments and these will be considered by the Guidance for Professional Practice review working group. We will put the results of the consultation, together with our response, on the website in May 2020. The revised Guidance will be published late in 2020. 

Please note that we will review our section on confidentiality when the GOC have published their updated guidance on confidentiality, to make sure they align.

We have summarised the main proposed amendments to the Safety and quality, Communication partnership and teamwork, and Maintaining trust domains below, and these are also shown in tracked changes in a downloadable document. Please note that changes to references and useful information are not shown in tracked changes, except in the Safeguarding section, as we have considerably expanded these links.

Summary of changes

Infection control:
  • B17d: Added information about what to do if you get a needlestick injury.
  • B65, B71, B74, B77: Changed ‘decontamination’ to ‘disinfection’.
  • B68: Changed to a ‘must carry out decontamination’, and removed information about keeping full records of special complex lenses to show the usage of each lens. We are not aware that this is common practice. All patients should be informed of the risks and benefits associated with contact lenses, which is already included in the contact lens and consent chapters.
  • B76: changed ‘must’ to ‘should’.
Protecting patients, colleagues and others from harm
  • B98b:  Added ‘The record should be verifiable or auditable, and you should keep a time line record of any communications’ to the end.
  • B100: Added ‘If you are making what you believe to be a protected disclosure you should make it clear to the person you are making the disclosure to that you believe the disclosure to be protected, and your reasons for this.’
  • Changed ‘vulnerable adults’ to ‘adults at risk’, as recommended by the Office of the Public Guardian.
  • Added B111 – You should be familiar with local procedures for reporting concerns relating to safeguarding.
  • Added to the Useful information and links.
  • C34: Updated to say ‘You must take reasonable care to make sure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any treatment or procedure, and of any reasonable alternatives.  What constitutes a material risk will depend both on what a reasonable person would consider to be significant, as well as what is significant to your particular patient.  Failure to do this may mean you have breached your duty of care and make you liable in negligence if the patient suffers harm as a result of the treatment. You should not withhold any information necessary for the patient to make a decision, unless the patient specifically asks not to have the information. You should keep a record of any discussions.’
  • C46c: Updated because the Mental Capacity Act in NI is now partially in force.
  • C59 – C66: Reordered to make it clearer.
  • C95: Updated for Scotland.
  • C111: Added, at the request of OCCS, that good complaint handling gives you the best opportunity to de-escalate the situation.  Also referred to GOC Business Standards.
  • C115: updated to reflect the different situation in Wales.
  • C116: removed ‘written’, as this is not a requirement – it just needs to be ‘made available’.
Social media
  • C143: Updated to make it clear that you can share information with the patient’s consent, but they must know what they are consenting to.
Working with colleagues
  • C182: Updated as NICE has now removed the QIPP study regarding repeat measures from its website.
  • C202 and C203: Updated to reflect more modern means of communication.
  • C205: Removed as it doesn’t best fit here.  We will develop separate guidance on this that will be published when the revised Guidance for Professional Practice is published.
Honesty and integrity
  • D25: Added bequests, and that gifts etc. should not affect the public’s trust in the profession.  Also added (following the GMC) that you must not put pressure on patients or their families to make donations to other people or organisations.  
Research and audit
  • D45: Added information about the NHS National Data Opt-Out.
  • D46: Changed the title to ‘College research misconduct’, rather than ‘principles’ and added ‘fabricate or’ to D46c.
  • D49: Added ‘Clinical audit projects must confirm to appropriate ethical standards.  The Health Quality Improvement Partnership has produced a guide to managing ethical issues in clinical audit’.

Please complete the questionnaire below by 31 March 2020.