R7.1.1  Some unregistered persons and unenrolled bodies corporate engaged in selling spectacles may employ registered dispensing opticians. While it is not unlawful to accept such employment, ABDO recognises that to do so could raise important legal and ethical issues and may create problems.

R7.2.1 ABDO takes the view that it might constitute serious professional misconduct for a registered dispensing optician to enter, or to remain in the employment of, or in professional association with, lay persons (that is, not a doctor, hospital authorities, registered opticians or enrolled bodies corporate) whose business is carried on without regard to the principles of good professional conduct. The unregistered seller remains subject to no control but the employed registered dispensing optician, working full or part time, would be considered by the GOC as responsible for adhering to GOC policies and ABDO guidelines. Moreover, the fact that a registered dispensing optician is on the premises all or part of the time does not mean that all of the available service will be provided by registered personnel. It is misleading to suggest otherwise to the public. If any title is to be used, it should indicate the registered dispensing optician’s name and qualifications and hours of attendance. It is also important to ensure that, in accordance with the Sale of Optical Appliances Order of Council 1984, the prescriptions of the following categories of patients are dispensed by or under the supervision of a qualified registered medical practitioner, qualified registered optometrist or qualified registered dispensing optician.

  1. Children under the age of 16.
  2. Those who are registered sight impaired [partially sighted] or severely sight impaired[ blind].  The provision of contact lenses to the public is also subject to the supervision of the above registered practitioners whose qualifications comply with the GOC Contact Lens (Qualification etc.) Rules 1988 (as amended).

R7.3.1 Certain professional functions are regulated by law:

  1. The testing of sight, as defined in the Opticians Act 1989, Section 24 (Testing of Sight) and 26 (Duties to be performed on sight testing) and in the Sight Testing (Examination and Prescription) (No 2) Regulations 1989.
  2. The fitting of contact lenses (Section 25 of the Opticians Act 1989).
  3. The dispensing of spectacle prescriptions of a kind that unqualified persons are not permitted by law to dispense (Section 27 of the Opticians Act 1989).
  4. The method of supply of all optical appliances including ready-made reading spectacles, on the premises of a registered optician or enrolled body corporate.

R7.4.1 Those registered dispensing opticians who are charged with the supervision of trainees in practice have a considerable obligation. Supervisors should ensure that their trainees are registered with the GOC.

R7.5.1 Individual supervisors of registered student dispensing opticians and trainee contact lens opticians must be approved by ABDO and comply with the following requirements:

  1. Have two years continuous full registration with the GOC, IOB or GMC (previous student GOC registration does not qualify towards the two year requirement) and have a maximum of two GOC registered students at any one time, irrespective of which optical discipline.
  2. Undertake to give continuous personal supervision to the trainee and accept full responsibility for his/her actions – i.e. be on the premises whilst the trainee is attending any patient.  It is essential that registered professionals in a supervisory capacity and those being supervised are aware of their roles and duties and particularly what functions cannot be carried out without a GOC/GMC registered supervisor being present on the premises and in a position to intervene.  Students are advised to register two supervisors to allow flexibility for cover during periods of holiday and sickness.  ABDO should be notified if a supervisor is absent for an extended period of cover (say in excess of four weeks) as alternative supervisory arrangements should then be made for the student.  Only supervisors that students have registered with the ABDO Examinations and Registration Department may supervise for the ABDO PQP and supervisors may only sign records in the ABDO PQP portfolio folder for the student’s work that they have personally supervised.
  3. Ensure the practice facilities and equipment are to the standard normally required for providing a full dispensing service.
  4. Ensure that the trainee receives practical experience in all areas of practice covered in the GOC Dispensing Core Competencies.
  5. Give the trainee the opportunity to attend appropriate tutorial and revision courses.
  6. Take an active interest so that the trainee is familiar with the practical examination syllabus, observes and comments on the trainee carrying out spectacle dispensing and adjustments and discusses appropriate selected courses of action.
  7. Permit a representative of ABDO to visit the premises at any time considered reasonable by appointment.  ABDO would expect to visit each student along with their principal supervisor during their time in practice training.  The purpose of the visit is to verify that the working environment is conducive to training and to support the student and supervisor as much as possible.  The ABDO representative would also be required to verify the authenticity of completed case records and therefore supervisors should ensure that procedures are in place to allow the auditing process and that they have complied with the Data Protection Act (i.e. that all related patients are aware that case records may be checked by ABDO for authenticity).

R7.6.1 See Student Section.