The General Optical Council ( GOC) has published its new Standards for Optical Businesses, which will come into effect on 1 October 2019.
Marcus Dye, GOC head of standards and CET, said, “The new Standards will replace the current Code of Conduct for Businesses and set out our expectations of business registrants more clearly. They have been updated to maintain consistency with the Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians and will ensure patient safety in a fast-changing landscape faced with new technology, an ageing population and expanding scopes of practice.”
The final standards have been revised following extensive analysis of the feedback received during the consultation. The GOC received 351 unique responses to the consultation as well as holding a series of focus groups with patients and registrants and a number of meetings with professional bodies and employers.
The draft standards were broadly supported across a wide range of stakeholders, with many respondents reporting that the draft proposals reflected ‘what businesses do anyway’. However, the GOC made some changes to reflect stakeholder feedback, most notably to ensure that the standards are proportionate and reflect the right balance of professional responsibilities between businesses and the staff that work for them. The GOC also made changes to ensure the Standards are flexible enough to be applied across all four nations of the UK.
Dye added: “We encourage all businesses to comply with the Standards regardless of whether they currently have to register with us because they represent good practice. Nonetheless we continue to push for legislative reform to require all businesses carrying out restricted functions to register with us. This would create a level playing field for all businesses and as the professions move into more clinical areas, it is becoming increasingly important that regulation is in place to ensure all businesses are registered.”