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Thinking of taking a break…?

There are many reasons why you might decide to leave the profession temporarily for either a long or short period of time. Before you let your GOC registration lapse, consider carefully the implications of restoring to the GOC register in months or even a few years’ time. There are a number of considerations:

1. If your GOC registration lapses, you might think that you will not have to pay personal indemnity insurance, as you are not in practice. However, claims can be made against you some time after you leave practice, and if you don’t continue your insurance, or have ‘run-off’ cover, you may find that you have to pay any legal fees yourself, for example if you do a couple of days as an unregistered locum.

2. The CET requirement for restoration is increased if in the previous CET cycle you were in shortfall. In other words, if you did not achieve your 36 points in the previous CET cycle, you will have the number of points you didn’t achieve in that cycle added on to your requirement for restoration. Depending on when you decided to take your break, you may be asked by the GOC to accrue up to 36 points before you can be restored to the register. Although ABDO has distance learning interactive restoration modules to help you, this can be an extremely onerous requirement, and can take months to achieve via free CET. As well as the number of points to be gained for restoration, the GOC will also stipulate other CET conditions to be met, such as gaining half as interactive points and covering all the competencies. CLOs in shortfall will also have to gain peer review points.

If you were up-to-date with your  CET points in the last cycle, or you weren’t on the GOC register for the whole of the last cycle, a DO will have the minimum restoration requirement stipulated by the GOC, 12 points. If you are a CLO, 6 of the twelve points must be contact lens competencies, and 6 general dispensing.

For more information about the CET requirement for CLOs, read the article by the GOC’s Linda Ford. Once you have achieved the restoration requirement, your CET ‘score’ is set to zero, and from your restoration date you must start gaining points for the current cycle. ABDO provides a huge choice of CET and ways to gain it. Almost all will be free of charge during the 2016-2018 period, even all-day ABDO CET events. However, this doesn’t extend to non-members.

3. The GOC charge a restoration fee in addition to the standard registration fee.

So, before you let everything lapse, consider whether it would be less trouble and expense, and safer, to stay on the GOC register and continue your ABDO membership. At least try to ensure that you don’t have a CET shortfall in this period, or you may find that it is extremely difficult to get back into work after your break.