Why is a review of the Opticians Act needed?

14 November 2022
Autumn 2022

The Opticians Act 1989 underpins the General Optical Council’s regulatory work. Sophie Goodchild looks at why a review was needed, the response from stakeholders, and the next steps.

Splitting refraction from eye health testing is the worst possible course of action for public health and wellbeing,” says Richard Knight. 

As Head of Policy for the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU), Richard has been engaging with England's local optical committee (LOCs) forums on LOCSU’s response to the General Optical Council’s (GOC’s) call for evidence on the Opticians Act.

The call for evidence has elicited strong responses regarding what should or should not change in the Act, which governs many aspects of optometry practice – particularly those related to primary care. The suggestion that the sight test be split among several aspects in the GOC’s review are causing optometrists concern. 

Under the current legislation, the GOC has powers to regulate on matters such as registrants’ Continuing Professional Development, fitness to practise and registration. The Act ensures that no one can practise as an optometrist or dispensing optician – or use those protected titles – without being registered, and therefore regulated.

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