The General Optical Council (GOC) has today published a consultation on the concepts and principles that could underpin optical education and training in the future, as part of its Education Strategic Review.
The consultation considers a series of ways of helping to ensure future optometrists and dispensing opticians are supported to be safe, confident and competent new practitioners in an optical sector where patient need, service delivery and business models are changing fast.
The 11 concepts and principles explored in the consultation aim to:
free universities and colleges up to develop innovative, responsive and agile education programmes that can respond to a dynamic UK optical sector and continue to protect the public,
put patient safety at the heart of education and training through early, varied and regular clinical exposure for students,
recognise the important place optical services have as part of a wider health system by promoting multi-professional learning,
enable new relationships between education providers, employers and professional associations that can effectively prepare students for autonomous or team based practice in a range of settings,
develop a more proportionate approach to the regulation of education providers through a risk-based outcomes-led approach to approving and quality assuring education providers.
The GOC is now seeking views from a wide range of stakeholders including education and training institutions, optical professionals and students, patient representatives and professional bodies.
This consultation follows the GOC’s initial Call for Evidence which demonstrated a broad consensus that now is the right time to be reviewing education requirements for optometrists and dispensing opticians.
Chief executive and registrar, Vicky McDermott said: “The concepts and principles we are considering in this consultation have been informed by what we are hearing from stakeholders about what the future holds for the professions we regulate. We know patient need is changing; that new and different services are being delivered in the community and that there is potential for this to increase; and that technology is influencing what our registrants are doing now and will do in the future. Against this backdrop, our education requirements must be flexible enough to support future practitioners in providing high quality eye care safely and confidently. This is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in eye care to let us know their thoughts and we encourage all stakeholders to take part in this consultation and help shape optical education that is fit for the future.”