1.1.1 Dispensing opticians shall always place the welfare of the public, who require their professional services, before all other considerations. They shall behave in a proper manner towards their patients, the GOC, ABDO and professional colleagues and shall not bring them or the profession into disrepute. (See Appendix A – GOC Standards of Practice). They must maintain a high standard of behaviour, integrity and competence, bringing to bear all their knowledge, skill and expertise in serving the public. Dispensing opticians should be aware that conviction for any non-optical offence may cause them to appear before the GOC for bringing the profession into disrepute, and subsequently be reported to ABDO. The GOC Standards of Practice are those against which you will be judged in any GOC Fitness to Practice hearing.
1.1.2 Communication with patients
In line with GOC Standards of Practice (see Appendix A), ABDO endorses the following:
• Give patients information in a way they can understand. Use your professional judgement to adapt your language and communication approach as appropriate.
• Patients should know in advance what to expect from the consultation and have the opportunity to ask questions or change their mind before proceeding.
• Be alert to unspoken signals which could indicate a patient’s lack of understanding, discomfort or lack of consent.
• Ensure that the people you are responsible for are able to communicate effectively with patients and their carers, colleagues and others.
• Ensure that patients or their carers have all the information they need to safely use, administer or look after any optical devices, drugs or other treatment that they have been prescribed or directed to use in order to manage their eye conditions. This includes being actively shown how to use any of the above.
• Be sensitive and supportive when dealing with relatives or other people close to the patient.
1.1.3 Dispensing opticians should be aware of local NHS/PCT protocols, especially if working within the NHS.
1.1.4 Dispensing opticians should have a policy for chaperoning certain groups of vulnerable adults and children – see Appendix E(3).
1.1.5 Dispensing opticians must recognise their limitations by seeking further advice and guidance; or refer elsewhere when appropriate. In particular, those wishing to practise in specialised areas must be sure of their ability to do so, by obtaining specialist qualifications as available. All dispensing opticians have a duty to maintain and develop their professional competence throughout their careers, since only in this way can they continue to offer the best possible service to the public.
1.1.6 Dispensing opticians are reminded that they have a responsibility to apply the infection control procedures outlined in this guidance and to dispose of waste safely so are advised to read the following:
Section 4 – Infection Control
Appendix F Advice on the disposal of waste
According to the GOC Standards of Practice, you should “promptly raise concerns about your patients, colleagues, employer or other organisation if patient or public safety might be at risk and encourage others to do the same. Concerns should be raised with your employing, contracting, professional or regulatory organisation as appropriate. This is sometimes referred to as ‘whistle-blowing’ and certain aspects of this are protected by law”. The relevant GOC document may be accessed here: Raising concerns with the GOC (whistleblowing) policy.
1.1.8 Social media and electronic communication
Members should ensure that they comply with their obligations in this area. Examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the ABDO website forums and other similar online forums.
ABDO’s Social Media Policy (Appendix K) is available here, and should be read and adhered to by all members.
The Optical Confederation has also produced Guidance on Social Media and Electronic Communication, and that is available here.