There are many reasons why you might decide to leave the optical profession temporarily for either a short or long period of time. If you find yourself in this situation, please read of some of the issues to consider before you let your GOC registration and/or ABDO membership lapse.
Personal indemnity insurance
You might think that you will not have to pay personal indemnity insurance as you are not in practice. However, there is the possibility that a claim can be made against you some time after you leave practice. If you don’t continue your insurance, or have ‘run-off’ cover, you may find that you have to pay legal fees yourself.
Dispensing Optician is a protected title and you must be registered with the GOC to be able to use this. You would require personal indemnity insurance even for the occasional day working as a locum dispensing optician or contact lens optician. Click to access more information on legislation on the GOC website.
GOC restoration fee
The GOC charges a restoration fee to re-join the register. This is in addition to the standard registration fee.
Making up any shortfall in CET
Following your career break, when you decide apply to re-join the GOC register 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-of-charge CET. As well as the number of points to be gained for restoration, the GOC will also stipulate the other CET conditions need to be met, such as gaining half as interactive points and covering all the competencies. Contact lens opticians 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 dispensing optician will have the minimum restoration requirement stipulated by the GOC, 12 points. If you are a contact lens optician, 6 of the 12 points must be contact lens competencies, and 6 general dispensing. 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 wide choice of CET and ways to gain it. Almost all will be free-of-charge to ABDO members during the 2019-2021 period.
Before you let everything lapse, consider whether it would be less trouble, less 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.
Link to A&G: R1.4, R1.6 and R5.3