ABDO response to the GOC Education Strategic Review

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has contacted all members asking them to respond to the General Optical Council’s Education Strategic Review as a matter of urgency.

In his letter to members, Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO General Secretary, stated, “This review was widely welcomed when it was launched and there was a real expectation that we would see progress made towards changing our scope of practice to reflect modern challenges of an aging population and the new technologies which will help ensure the best possible outcome for patients. After two years the excitement has turned to sheer disappointment at the likely outcome for DOs.”

Key reasons for concern include:

  • the GOC has deemed the minimum standard for education for a DO at Level 5 according to the Handbook 1. The vast majority of registered DOs and ABDO members have achieved Level 6 so ABDO is concerned that the regulator is setting minimum standards at a lower level than FBDO graduates currently achieve.
  • proposals which may see an increase in the number of examining bodies and the potential to make all assessments internal – lack of independent, rigorous assessment will inevitably drive down standards and put the public at risk.
  • a lack of innovation in the review, we would have expected to see refraction as a delegated function, MECS, screening, monitoring etc. which will have a detrimental impact on service delivery.
  • the wording of Learning Outcomes does not stipulate the depth and breadth of subject matter which may mean a driving down of educational standards.

ABDO President Clive Marchant FBDO said, “We at ABDO are appalled at the prospect and hugely disappointed that a golden opportunity has been turned into a regressive and disheartening exercise. We will challenge this direction of travel and do everything possible to persuade the GOC to avoid such a disastrous move. Our principle concern is that patient safety should be the priority, and this can only be delivered by a properly trained and independently assessed professional.”

The ABDO Board has unanimously committed to writing individually to the response. The Board is making an unprecedented plea to all ABDO members to voice their concerns and work with the Association to reverse the blatant disregard of the professional status of dispensing opticians in the review.

Follow this link to read the consultation document and submit your own response. https://consultation.optical.org/  You have until 25th February. To discuss the ESR in more depth please contact Barry Duncan on 07896 435799 or Debbie McGill on 07970017874.