16 February 2024

GOC launches consultation on revised Standards of Practice

The General Optical Council (GOC) has launched its consultation on revised Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, Standards for Optical Students and Standards for Optical Businesses.

The new draft Standards, launched on Wednesday 14 February, have been revised following extensive stakeholder engagement, including a series of stakeholder conversations with registrants and optical organisations and research into patient and public views of the Standards, conducted by Shift Insight.

The consultation can be accessed via the GOC’s new Consultation Hub and is available in both the English and Welsh languages. Stakeholders are invited to submit a full or partial response to the consultation in either language.

The consultation will close on 8 May 2024.

The GOC has proposed changes to improve public protection, such as strengthening the standards in relation to the care of patients in vulnerable circumstances and the use of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) when providing care. New standards have also been added to set clear expectations in relation to managing communicable diseases and sexual harassment.

The consultation focuses on several areas, including:

  • leadership and professionalism
  • care of patients in vulnerable circumstances
  • effective communication
  • use of digital technologies, including AI
  • supervision and delegation
  • equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)
  • social media, online conduct, and consent
  • maintaining appropriate professional boundaries
  • registrant health

Steve Brooker, GOC Director of Regulatory Strategy, said:

“Today’s launch marks a significant milestone in the Standards Review, following twelve months of extensive stakeholder engagement. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed so far to help us shape the proposed new standards.

“The current standards have served the sector well and will mostly remain unchanged. However, we are proposing important revisions to bring the standards up to date with developments in technology, strengthen protection for patients in vulnerable circumstances and address negative behaviours in the workplace.

“It’s extremely important for us to hear from as many stakeholders as possible to ensure that the proposed changes are clear, proportionate, and reflect the current context in which registrants practise, students are trained, and businesses operate. The feedback we receive will be analysed and used to inform the final revisions to the standards.”

Related further reading

Claire Moulds examines the impact of a power of attorney on the patient relationship.

Research, including work carried out in high-street optometry practices, is driving innovation in clinical practice and at a policy level, writes Mark Gould.