The profession needs you to act now

February sees the last opportunity for representations to be made to the GOC’s Education Strategic Review. 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 ageing 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 DO’s in particular. There seems to be an inexplicable desire to downgrade the Dispensing Qualification, increase the number of examining bodies and generally make it much harder for professionals to progress.

We at ABDO are appalled at the prospect and hugely disappointed that such a golden opportunity has been turned into a regressive and disheartening exercise.

Needless to say we will be challenging this direction of travel and will be doing everything possible to persuade the GOC to avoid such a disastrous move.

Our principle concern is that patient safety should be the priority that can only be delivered by a properly trained and independently assessed professional

With that in mind, the ABDO Board has unanimously committed to writing individually to the response and in doing so make an unprecedented plea to all members of ABDO to voice their personal concerns and work with the Association to reverse the blatant disregard of the professional status of dispensing opticians in this review. ABDO have responded and listed some salient points (below) for members to consider. It is imperative that individuals respond in with their own views to ensure their ‘voice’ as a registrant is accepted and considered.

I would urge a coming together of all ABDO members on this crucial matter.

Sir Anthony Garrett CBE. HonFBDO. General Secretary.

To discuss in more depth please contact Barry Duncan on 07896 435799 or Debbie McGill on 07970017874

Main points of concern

The main points of concern are listed below. You may find these useful when composing your own response.

• The review shows a lack of innovation – for example, we would have expected refraction as a delegated function, MECS, screening, monitoring etc
• There is the potential to make all assessments internal – lack of independent, rigorous assessment will inevitably drive down standards and put the public at risk.
• The wording of Learning Outcomes does not stipulate the depth and breadth of subject matter which may mean a driving down of educational standards.
• Related to the ESR is the fact that the GOC have deemed the minimum standard for education for a DO at Level 5 according to the Handbook. The vast majority of registered DOs and ABDO members have achieved Level 6 so why is the regulator setting minimum standards at a lower level than FBDO graduates currently achieve?
• Three out of four domains mirror those of our optometry colleagues.Common domains should mean more progression opportunities between programmes depending on the interpretation by individual institutes.
• The review is supportive of CPD and lifelong learning culture that is relevant to our scope of practice and not too restrictive but there is a lack of information at this time as to the detail of the scheme.
• The formal addition of research skills training would be the only required change to the current L6 FBDO syllabus.

Follow this link to read the consultation document and submit your own response. You have until 25th February to submit your response.