GOC launches consultation on the future of Continuing Education and Training

The General Optical Council (GOC) has launched a consultation to understand how to develop the current system of Continuing Education and Training (CET) so it is fit for the future.

The consultation is asking optical professionals to give their views on how the GOC can help them develop new skills on a continuing basis. This may for example mean more emphasis on self-directed learning, whereby optical professionals are given more flexibility to focus on developing skills that are most relevant to their individual needs. It could also mean a greater emphasis on critical thinking skills and improving future performance by analysing previous experiences.

The consultation is in response to increasing demand for eye health services and advancements in technology that are changing the optical sector.

An ageing population and pressures on NHS services mean there is more demand for eye care services than ever before.

New technologies like artificial intelligence are changing the way diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy will be diagnosed and monitored in future. As well as testing sight and dispensing contact lenses, GOC registrants will be increasingly required to do more clinical work.

The Fit for the Future consultation is taking place from 17 July to 11 September 2018 in order to listen to the views of key stakeholders. The findings of the consultation will be used to shape the new system that is expected to start in 2020.

To help the sector adjust, 2019 will be a transition year between the current system of CET and a newly reformed system starting in 2020.  During the transition year, there is a GOC expectation that registrants will achieve 12 CET points of which six will be from interactive activities.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, says:

“The existing system of Continuing Education and Training has up to now been effective in safeguarding the health of the public, but as the optical sector changes it needs to evolve to support practitioners in maintaining high standards of patient care.

We want to use the current system as a foundation upon which to build new elements that help the sector move with the times.”

Participation in the Fit for the Future consultation is through the GOC’s new online consultation hub at https://consultation.optical.org.

The last date to participate is 11 September.

The GOC has produced a communications toolkit for organisations working in the optical sector, which provides content and ideas to help communicate what the consultation is, why it matters and how individuals can take part.  Email fitforthefuture@optical.org to be sent a copy.