15 September 2021

Have your say: changes to qualification requirements for specialist entry onto the register

Feedback on our draft response on changes to qualification requirements for specialist entry onto the register.

The GOC is currently consulting on changes to the qualification requirements for specialist entry onto the register.

The changes will affect optometrists seeking to obtain Additional Supply (AS), Supplementary Prescribing (SP) and Independent Prescribing (IP) qualifications. They are part of the outcomes of GOC’s Education Strategic Review (ESR) which seeks to refresh and update regulated qualifications and post-registration professional development in the optical sector. Key changes are highlighted in GOC’s “key proposals” lettered a-j (and referred to below for clarity). In summary, they include:

  • AS, SP and IP specialist registration will be through a single qualification (as distinct from the current three part process of academic learning, clinical experience and final examination) overseen by a single provider. This qualification will be at master’s level.
  • Current 2 year time frames for prior experience and for completion will be removed.
  • 90 hours of clinical experience must be part of the qualification.
  • IP trainees must meet outcomes closely modelled on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Competency Framework for all Prescribers (2021). Miller’s pyramid (knows, knows how, shows how, does) has been used to indicate the level for each of these.
  • IP trainees will no longer need to be supervised by a consultant ophthalmologist – other appropriately qualified “designated prescribing practitioners” (DPPs), including IP qualified optometrists, can now supervise trainees’ learning in practice.

The College has reviewed the GOC proposals and prepared a draft response to the narrative questions on the survey. We encourage members to engage with the consultation as individuals, to read our draft response and feedback on our current thinking using our survey.

There will be an opportunity for further discussion and input into the College’s response at an online meeting and panel discussion to be held on Thursday 23 September 12-1pm. Please register for the meeting via Zoom [now closed].

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. For any queries please contact education.help@college-optometrists.org.

Related further reading

Dr Paramdeep Bilkhu MCOptom, Clinical Adviser for the College, on the scope of practice and eye care services in optometry practices.