The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched a consultation on its approach to tackling illegal practice. The strategy covers all types of illegal practice prohibited by the Opticians Act 1989, from misrepresentation of title to online contact lens sales that do not comply with UK law.
The regulator is proposing to take a more creative and proactive approach to reducing public harm through measures such as raising awareness among contact lens wearers of the importance of regular check-ups and following aftercare advice, promoting a voluntary code of practice for online contact lens suppliers and extending its collaboration with other bodies with a role in enforcement and promoting public health.
Other proposed measures include producing new consumer guidance and continuing to handle cases in line with the GOC’s prosecution protocol.
Alistair Bridge, GOC director of policy and communications, said: “We face significant challenges in stopping certain types of illegal practice such as the supply of contact lenses via overseas websites that do not comply with UK law. That is why we are proposing to take a more creative and proactive approach.
“It will be vital for all interested parties to work together to effectively tackle these issues, so I look forward to hearing our stakeholders’ views on the proposed strategy and how we can collaborate to take it forward.”
The strategy has been informed by independent research commissioned last year into the risks to the public posed by illegal practice. The GOC has published this research alongside the consultation.
The consultation launched on 3 March and will run until 3 June. More information can be found on the GOC website.