Press Release: ABDO comment on the GOC ESR

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is concerned that proposals in the latest consultation from by the General Optical Council (GOC) as part of its Education Strategic Review (ESR) create a significant risk of inconsistent standards of education and lower standards of education.

ABDO’s concerns arise because the high-level education outcomes do not make clear what clinical knowledge and skills student dispensing opticians and optometrists will need in order to join the GOC register. Together with the absence of a common assessment framework, this means that there will be no guarantee that students reach a safe baseline for entry to the profession. The risk of inconsistent, lower standards is magnified by the fact that there is the potential for multiple routes to registration for both optometrists and dispensing opticians.

ABDO also believes that the GOC has also failed to explain why it is proposing to introduce the single point of accountability model for dispensing opticians. ABDO understands that this model is designed to lead to student optometrists’ clinical experience being more integrated with their academic study, but  nearly all student dispensing opticians combine academic study with working in practice already.

ABDO is concerned about the consultation process, given that respondents to consultation will be unable to make an informed response because the GOC

  • has not published any estimates of the costs associated with the proposed new system;
  • has not explained who will bear these costs;
  • has not shown that the costs will be outweighed by any potential benefits;
  • has not distinguished between the impacts on the system of education for optometrists and the impacts on the system for dispensing opticians;
  • and has not considered any alternative options so that the relative costs and benefits of the proposed new system can be assessed.

ABDO General Secretary Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO says, “I hope all Dispensing Opticians as well as other professionals in the world of optics will take time to read the GOC’s proposals and to study our concerns. We believe that the current proposals are not fit for purpose and need substantial changes. We trust that as many people as possible will wish to respond to the GOC consultation.  In order for the public to be properly protected as well as served it is vital that the integrity of the profession is maintained and enhanced. The GOC proposals makes this objective impossible to achieve.”

ABDO remains committed to protecting the public by ensuring that student dispensing opticians are equipped for future roles and despite its concerns will continue to work with the GOC in an effort to develop a new system that delivers consistently high standards of education and supports extended scopes of practice.

You can read ABDO’s concerns in full here.

The consultation is live until 19 October 2020. To take part, visit the GOC Consultation Hub.



Notes to Editors

  1. Media enquiries to Antonia Chitty
  2. ABDO represents over 6000 qualified dispensing opticians in the United Kingdom. Registered office, 199, Gloucester Terrace, London W2 6LD.