Changes to independent prescribing: Our consultation response

As part of the Education Strategic Review (ESR), Lizzy Ostler, Director of Education has responded to the GOC’s proposals for the future education and training requirements for independent prescribing (IP) and specialist entry to the GOC register.

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Professor Lizzy Ostler, Director of Education at the College, has written to the GOC in response to their changes to IP education and training requirements. Members were consulted via our website, and an online panel discussion. We would like to thank everyone who responded. 

The GOC proposals represent a welcome update to the independent prescribing qualification, we have detailed some reservations in our final response.

We have significant concerns that the levels of clinical experience and expertise of newly qualified optometrists will be insufficient to underpin the judgements and outcomes required of IP practitioners, if the two-year post-registration experience requirement is removed. Mechanisms are needed to ensure that the learning experience of trainees is of sufficient diversity to develop and establish appropriate breadth of scope of practice in new IP registrants.

We would also welcome methods for increasing scope of practice in more experienced IP optometrists and further consideration of means to ensure that ALL potential specialty registrants are enabled to access training to support enhanced models of care, and that the changes do not inadvertently privilege post ESR graduates or reduce access through increased costs. We also consider that the location of responsibility for approval and training of the Designated Prescribing Practitioner needs  clarity.

Please read our full response below.