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Opchat Magazine Professional Matters PagesProfessional Matters News, January to March 2018

Optometry/Dispensing

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Capita and Primary Care England - National Audit Office inquiry, FODO staff make inquiry visit.
AOP opens nominations for 15 Council positions.
GOC Chair calls for more collaboration between system leaders in future of eye and vision services.
AOP seeks volunteers for vital Peer Support Line.
GOC suspends Nottingham-based optometrist.
So, could the NHS do with an extra £119 million pounds?
Capita staff were on the NHS PCSE stand to promote “Future service developments for ophthalmic payments”.
Optical Confederation calls on NHS England to take urgent action to address Capita failures.
The 2018 Winner: Sinead McGurk Opticians from N Ireland. AOP Practice of the Year
Child vision screening resources updated from October 2017 this January.
College of Optometrists announces Council election results.
LOCSU highlights deadlines for Leadership Skills Module.
AOP unveils 2018 CET programme.
GOC announces new appointments to its Companies and Investigation committees.
GOC suspends West Midlands-based dispensing optician.
World Council of Optometry and American Academy of Optometry announce Joint Education Meeting in 2019

Capita and Primary Care England - National Audit Office inquiry, FODO staff make inquiry visit.

February 2018

FODO Chief Executive David Hewlett and Director of Policy and Strategy Ann Blackmore met with the National Audit Office (NAO) recently as part of a new inquiry into NHS England’s management of the Primary Care Support Service (PCCS).

Together with Optical Confederation colleagues, David and Ann detailed the history of the ongoing fiasco, providing all the evidence we have of failings in claims and payments, helplines, customer service, optometrist listing, grants payments, contract application processing and clearing the backlog of unreconciled claims.

They explained that the project had failed through the premature cutting of NHS England staff, and that this had been compounded by haste, over-ambition and the lack of any real management grip at all levels of the project itself.

They also made very clear our concern about the planned claims and payments transformation remaining in the hands of NHS England, PSCE and Capita.

Following the publication of the inquiry’s report, expected in late spring / early summer, NHS England is likely to be called before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to answer for any failings.
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Capita - update on CET claims

The OC now understands that Capita have now paid all CET claims in January, except those that were missing information on the claim form.

If you are a contractor and you have not received a CET payment in respect of an optometrist for this period, you should email pcse.optical@nhs.net, putting ‘Unpaid CET claim - optometrist’s name and GOC number’ in the subject header. You should also include the date you submitted the claim in the body of the email and state clearly whether it was sent by email or post. (Please note: The chasing email must be sent by the contractor(s) representative, not the named performer)

FODO says it has not heard of any outstanding CET payments for January yet, but if this applies to you, and you are a FODO member please let them know, so they can also raise the issue with Capita on your behalf in our ongoing correspondence with them regarding payment problems.

AOP opens nominations for 15 Council positions.

February 2018

Practitioners and students who are passionate about shaping the future of optics are being invited by the Association of Optometrists to put themselves forward to become AOP Council representatives, with nominations opening on Monday 26 February.

AOP Councillors ensure that views from around the UK and within the profession are represented in the AOP’s policy-making. The Association is encouraging members from across its membership to put themselves forward before the nomination period closes on 19 March.

Susan Bowers, AOP Councillor for the West Midlands, said that it was important for colleagues to consider nominating themselves. “It’s vital that the next generation come forward and take optometry into the future” she explained.

Alongside the 12 elected geographical posts being contested in 2018, three designated positions representing undergraduate students, pre-registration optometrists and newly-qualified optometrists are also open for application.

Speaking about his role, AOP Councillor for the East Midlands, Bhavik Parmar, said that holding the position was extremely rewarding, adding: “I would encourage optometrists from all backgrounds and experience to stand.”

Encouraging AOP members to apply, Henrietta Alderman, AOP Chief Executive, said: “In 2018 and 2019 the AOP Council will discuss some of the key challenges and opportunities facing optics, including the GOC’s education strategic review, and potential changes to the regulation of the profession. It’s a really interesting time to be involved.

“If you think you can represent your peers and want to help steer the profession, please consider putting yourself forward to be an elected or designated representative.”

Voting for elected positions will be open from 3-23 April, with all qualified AOP members eligible to vote. Designated positions will be chosen by the AOP Appointments Committee. The results will be announced in May.

For more information, including the role of Councillors, the election timeline and a video of why being an AOP Councillor is rewarding work, visit the AOP website

GOC Chair calls for more collaboration between system leaders in future of eye and vision services.

February 2018

Gareth Hadley, Chair of the General Optical Council (GOC), is today calling for more collaboration and cooperation between the wider health system and the optical sector.

Gareth’s call follows the regulator today publishing a summary of its recent discussions about the potential future direction of eye health and vision services in the UK.

Following a health system leaders’ roundtable meeting, held by the GOC in November as part of its Education Strategic Review, the new document summarises key themes from the meeting.

These include the importance of developing increased collaboration, cooperation and integration between eye health and vision services and wider health systems, and equipping future optical professionals with the skills and knowledge to practise safely and competently in new and different ways.

Gareth Hadley said: “We know that throughout the UK more optical services are being delivered in new and innovative ways, including in a variety of community settings. Our role at the GOC is to ensure new practitioners are equipped to practise safely and competently in this evolving landscape. That is why our Education Strategic Review is such a key priority for us over the next two years."

“But it is also vital that the optical and wider health sector pursue a joined up and collaborative approach to ensure the delivery of safe, accessible and cost effective eye health and vision services that patients have confidence in and can navigate easily.”

To read the summary statement please click here

AOP seeks volunteers for vital Peer Support Line.

February 2018

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is seeking members to volunteer for our important wellbeing service – which is rated 100% supportive by those who use it.

The AOP Peer Support Line is a confidential, free-phone helpline for individuals to discuss their problems. The service provides callers with the opportunity to talk to a fellow optical professional in a dedicated non-judgemental space – with the aim of giving them relief and clarity over the issues affecting them.

Volunteers take calls on a range of subjects including workplace pressure, bullying, ill health, financial worries, bereavement or anxiety about exams.

Thurka Sivapalan, Chairwoman of the Peer Support Line, said: “Often the first step to feeling in control of a problem is talking about it. However, sometimes it doesn’t feel quite right to share with those closest to you, perhaps because you feel like it will be a burden or you’d like an outside perspective, for this reason, the Peer Support Line offers an invaluable service. Ms Sivapalan added: “Last year, we had good take-up, with an increasing number, month on month, of individuals calling the line about issues of worry or stress.”

The AOP is looking for qualified AOP members who are either still working, retired or on a career break, and who are driven to make a difference and would like to help sustain this vital support network for the profession.

Applicants will be empathetic, able to refrain from giving advice, have excellent listening skills and commit to being available to take calls two days per month.

The Peer Support Lines is answered 24 hours a day, by an external answering service, with volunteers on duty to return calls between 8am and 8pm. It aims to give callers fast confidential access to trained volunteers who understand the pressures of optical practice.

For further information about the role including details on how to apply, please read the volunteer role description and download an application form here

The closing date for applications is Friday 23 February 2018.

GOC suspends Nottingham-based optometrist.

February 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Alpesh Bhundia, an optometrist based in Nottingham, from its register for a period of nine months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct, relating to him making a series of amendments to a patient’s record. The amendments first followed the receipt of a complaint made to the practice by the patient’s mother, then again following notification from the GOC of a fitness to practise investigation.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Pamela Ormerod, said: “The Committee was concerned with two occasions on which the registrant had amended patient records by adding, long after the event, plausible details of which he had no independent recollection. The purpose of the additions was to protect himself in the face of a patient complaint and an investigation by the GOC.

Fellow professionals rely upon clinical records as a contemporaneous and accurate record of what occurred at the consultation to which the records relate. The Committee is in no doubt that fellow professionals would regard the Registrant’s behaviour as deplorable.

However the Committee was satisfied that the Registrant had shown genuine remorse for his behaviour and had developed some insight into what had gone wrong. The committee also concluded that the risk of repetition of this type of conduct is low”

Mr Bhundia has until 6 March 2018 to appeal the decision. If no appeal is lodged, the suspension order will take effect on 7 March 2018.

So, could the NHS do with an extra £119 million pounds?

February 2018

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority put out a press release just before the 100% Optical Show which stated that £119 million was the estimated amount fraudulently costing the NHS Optical Sector.

Before our readers panic over that eye watering amount we should explain that at of that figure £71 million is accounted by optical patient fraud.

One might call this discussion a game of two unequal halves considering the inability for the NHS contractors to pay many of our fellow practitioners at the correct time. This may be not illegal but it is certainly negligent.

So PHN’s editor agreed to interview James Robertson the senior media officer of the NHSCFA at the show.

We broached the subject of non-payment of fees against overpayment of optical fraud to James and true to NHS form, he had no knowledge of the problems of Capita’s negligence and inability to perform even a standard service.

The NHSCFA states that:

The primary areas of optical fraud involve:

1 Patients claiming exemption from payment when they are not entitled

2 Unjustified early sight test recalls by contractors

3 Contractor claims where patients did not receive the claimed-for service

4 Contractor claims for a service the patient paid for

5 Patient did not receive the service the contractor claimed for

We can’t comment on the outliers that exist in our own professional service except to say that there will of course always be someone performing poorly within 7000+ optical outlets. But those who do not respect the law and their contracts know the risks and know that their peers will hang them out to dry and suspend or deregister them where the case is proven. The NHSCFA claims that Optical Contractor fraud is estimated to be £48 million pounds per year.

The greater fraud as we have said is with optical patient fraud and once again James was not aware of the continuing impasse on optician’s ability to use their business solution PMS to use eGOS. A solution that even if it didn’t remove patient fraud totally would throw the challenge fairly and squarely on the NHS payment contractors to check and verify.

Your editor instigated the initial discussions on behalf of a major chain with the DOH and later the team that now bears the name NHS Digital. That was 16 years ago, and a team of all the then current PMS providers as well as FODO reps were brought together. FODO’s working group morphed into an OC group and initially movement was achieved when Specsavers and VE along with some independents started eGOS in some selected areas.

There are a number sticking points that have made what should have been an easy win for all into a nightmare scenario.

Originally, many practices had not taken on computerisation and many were sharing telephone access between modems and pdq machines. (Not joking)

The same for the contractor payment systems that were area dependent and fragmented.

Electronic signature was and still is not allowed and therefore requiring scanning of GOS forms and their storage. I have never met the mandarin that has opposed this simple enactment but would love to trade arguments with them.

Then there was the argument on costs. Who should pay? The pharmacists scored well in their digital transformation with full payment so why not us? This puts the membership organisations into a go-slow mode, not wanting to appear to choose a way forward that might cost their members money. To the point where one representative of a membership organisation even suggested that eGOS would provide practitioners with no advantages.

That is of course nonsense and a larger number of practices are now enjoying the benefits including automatic checking of GOS forms and patient statements, auto listing and individual allocation of funds against patients, simple debt collection and debtor control. And usually (not always) faster payment.

The NHSFCA had no idea about these conflicts and how if they were to spend a little money on eGOS implementation they would save the lion share of patient fraud.

James and I agreed that as supporters of the NHS we all should push towards reducing fraud and making payment easier.

This prompted me to attend the NHS England PCSE stand as I had heard a whisper that all personnel on it were in fact Capita staff. (My chance for an Optical Crusade! See Capita Story below)

Capita staff were on the NHS PCSE stand to promote “Future service developments for ophthalmic payments”.

February 2018

The vison is to transform previously locally managed operations into a “modern and efficient national customer-focused service”

(You couldn’t make this stuff up, but we are writing it up for you!)

On questioning, none of the 3 Capita staff were aware of any payment delay problems Capita were creating. They were just there to promote eGOS. They knew no background information although one of them did vaguely no about the impasse on electronic signatures.

So, eGOS online will be rolled out this summer nationwide, with new GOS forms to “scan” but a manual application will be available.

The document does say that electronic signatures will be used but on questioning the staff were not sure if that removed the signature from the forms that were scanned in and whether the forms would still have to be retained in the practice. PHN will check this out.

Therefore, we are exactly where the original group got to back 13 years ago but of course with a now digitally educated workforce. Will they offer part subsidy on implementation? No sign of that but if they did provide an incentive then it would save Capita money and the bother of teaching their staff how to pay opticians and it would reduce fraud thus saving the NHS millions each year.

Seems like a no brainer to us and to the representative of NHSCFA, I think my suggestion to the stand members of NHS England was a little over their paygrade.

Watch this space.

Optical Confederation calls on NHS England to take urgent action to address Capita failures.

February 2018

The Optical Confederation has on the Monday 22 January 2018 written to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, calling for urgent action to address the ongoing failure of Capita to fulfil their contractual obligations.

The letter highlights the “utter frustration, dissatisfaction and anger” at the continuing failure of the Primary Care Support England (PCSE) service delivered by Capita for NHS England. Echoing a similar letter from the British Medical Association (BMA), the Optical Confederation Chief Executives describe the situation as “completely unacceptable”, pointing out that Capita has failed to deliver on promises to rectify the situation dating back as far as April 2016.

The optical sector has “no confidence” in Capita, which has failed to manage the ophthalmic payments service to an acceptable standard, to execute the processing and payment of CET schemes within expected timescales for the second year running, and to manage and process Performers List and GOS contract applications.

In light of these failures, the Optical Confederation has formally requested that unless a “cast iron guarantee” be provided by the end of the financial year (April 2018) that the backlog of payment issues will be resolved by the end of June and that the service will be operating at the required standard by that point, then the contract should be taken away from Capita. The Optical Confederation recognise that this would involve significant upheaval, but nevertheless believe that it would be in their members’ best interests.

The letter is signed by the Chief Executives of Optical Confederation member bodies, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), the Association of Optometrists (AOP), the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO) and the Director of Clinical Services for the LOC Support Unit (LOCSU).

You can read the full letter here.

Since that letter the Optical Confederation and LOCSU have responded to the Capita profit warning

The Optical Confederation and LOCSU has said the Government and NHS England “must prepare to step in” if Capita continues to let down NHS primary care contractors. This follows Capita’s profit warning and share price drop on 31 January 2018.

Optical Confederation Chair, Fiona Anderson said: “Our members have already been suffering for two years because of Capita’s failure to deliver a primary care support service in England. We wrote to Simon Stevens only last week (see above) to set out our members’ continuing anger and frustration at Capita’s failure to improve and our complete lack of confidence in Capita. We said then that unless things turn around immediately, the time has come for NHS England to find another service provider.

“This recent news underlines the need for NHS England and the Government to prepare to step in and make sure the vital care that our members and other NHS contractors provide to patients is properly supported – whatever Capita’s financial problems. As we’ve seen with Carillion, it is ultimately up to the Government to make sure the failings of private service providers don’t damage the NHS.”

The 2018 Winner: Sinead McGurk Opticians from N Ireland. AOP Practice of the Year

January 2018

Practice of the year AOP winner

JUDGE'S COMMENT – WHAT MAKES A WINNER
“A winner should be passionate about what they do, allowing that passion to spill over so that it is evident for all
to see”
Fiona Anderson, President of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians

For this Northern Ireland-based independent opticians, its relocation, bespoke redesign and focus on branding have all contributed to its successful growth

Originally established in 2002, its relocation in May 2016 enabled Sinead McGurk Opticians to offer an enhanced patient experience that focuses on putting the patient first at every stage of the eye care journey.

From the technology that it has in the examination room, to the niche eyewear selection and customer service, owner, Sinead McGurk, considered everything, with the importance of the patient journey emphasised to the architect to ensure a seamless flow on a daily basis.

Winning practice with easyscanMs McGurk describes the practice as spacious with a stylish interior. “It exudes an aura of calm, and gives the client confidence that we are professional, and can deliver our services with flair,” she said.

“The examination room is well-equipped, but uncluttered,” the optometrist shared, highlighting that investment in technology saw the practice become the first in Northern Ireland to have a EasyScan with advanced SLO technology. (left)

Easyscan take sole stand at 100%


Easyscan info

Ms McGurk emphasises that the practice’s “small but dedicated team” are “outstanding.” They develop a professional relationship with clients in a friendly, welcoming manner, ensuring that they can fulfil their requirements with products and services, whilst paying attention to detail at all times, she said.

“It exudes an aura of calm, and gives the client confidence that we are professional” said Sinead McGurk

Others who won awards at the AOP 100% Awards Night.

Practice of the year AOP winner
Practice of the year AOP winner
Practice of the year AOP winner

Child vision screening resources updated from October 2017 this January.

January 2018

A set of resources to support the commissioning and delivery of child vision screening. Includes a service specification, competencies, leaflets and template letters.

Click here for October originals and updates.

College of Optometrists announces Council election results.

January 2018

The College of Optometrists has announced the results of its recent Council election. Prab Boparai MCOptom was elected to represent members in the West Midlands, with Dr Irene Ctori MCOptom joining as a College Council member for London. Deepali Modha MCOptom was elected unopposed to represent the Eastern region, with Lisa O'Donoghue MCOptom and Lorcan Butler MCOptom elected unopposed to represent Northern Ireland.

The following members retain their seats on College Council:
• Johnathan Waugh MCOptom (Scotland)
• Colin Davidson FCOptom (South East)
• Stephanie Campbell MCOptom (South West)
• Professor Leon Davies FCOptom (West Midlands)
• Dr Joy Myint FCOptom (London)
• Parth Shah MCOptom (re-elected unopposed, Eastern).

Prab Boparai MCOptom said: “I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to work with my peers and colleagues in the College. I am very grateful to those who voted for me in the West Midlands, and assure everyone that I will do my best to represent the views of everybody in the best manner possible. A particular area that I wish to focus on is in raising awareness of eye health and the profile of our profession to the nation. The profession is at times divided and we’re often in competition with one another, which can make it challenging to bring about the positive changes that benefit us all. We need to unite and work together with our optical representative bodies to make ourselves heard in both the NHS and the private health sector.”

Dr Mary-Ann Sherratt MCOptom, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “I would like to congratulate and offer a warm welcome to all the successful candidates of this year’s election. Our Council takes pride in ensuring that we all remain true to our principles and accountable to our members, so it’s very important we have ambassadors who are actively engaged in the College.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the outgoing Council members for the amazing work to help shape the future direction of the profession, namely Professor Kathryn Saunders, Sara McCullough, David Parkins, Francesca Marchetti, and Parminder Chohan.”

The new Council members will begin their terms after the College of Optometrists’ AGM, which is being held on 19 March 2018 as part of its annual conference, Optometry Tomorrow.

LOCSU highlights deadlines for Leadership Skills Module.

January 2018

A final reminder that applications for the 2018 Leadership Skills Module are to be submitted by end of play on Monday 8 January.

LOCSU’s Leadership Skills for Optical Professionals, is a 20-credit postgraduate module, and part of WOPEC’s MSc programme at Cardiff University.

It provides an understanding of current leadership models and theoretical approaches and will give delegates the background knowledge and practical skills that will equip them to provide leadership in the optical sector.

The Module is open to optometrists with a BSc in Optometry and opticians who are FBDO-qualified.

LOCSU will be funding up to 10 places on the 2018 cohort. If you would like to be considered for a funded place please download the application from the LOCSU website and return it to me at jacquefooks@locsu.co.uk.

Interviews will be conducted by conference call, provisionally planned for Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 January 2018, so please indicate your availability on the application form. More information about the course structure can be found on the website.

AOP unveils 2018 CET programme.

January 2018


Over 300 interactive and non-interactive CET points available

AOP CETThe Association of Optometrists (AOP) has launched its extensive, 2018 Education and professional development programme – increasing the number of events it runs by 40% from 2017, to cater for practitioners in all modes of practice, across the UK.

The full programme delivers through a variety of face-to-face events, print and online channels, offering over 300 interactive and non-interactive CET points.

Following the sell-out success of the AOP’s pilot events in 2017, nine new locum events, in partnership with Johnson and Johnson Vision, will take place in 2018. Other new highlights to the programme include the AOP’s second CET-approved legal drama, webinars on a range of topics, and making accurate claims events in Scotland and Wales.

In addition to new initiatives, the AOP’s education programme continues to deliver established and highly valued events and conferences, including the flagship industry event, 100% Optical and the popular peer discussion and legal roadshows.

Ian Beasley
Dr Ian Beasley, the AOP’s Head of Education, said that the 2018 programme will provide education and training that underpins the whole practice team.

He explained: “The AOP has focused its efforts to expand the education offering in a way that helps all members of the practice team fulfil their individual roles. We are delighted to announce, following such a successful pilot run, that we will be delivering new locum events across the country, to cater for this important growing market in the industry. These events will include a session on safe practice through continuity of care and best practice for contact lens fitting. Therapeutics Manchester, which delivers a brand-new programme, also makes an exciting new addition for those specialising in this field or those who are looking to in the future.”

 

Ian BeasleyThe 2018 Education and professional development programme will begin with 100% Optical, 27-29 January.

As the official 100% Optical education and media partner, the AOP has developed a world-class CET and CPD programme available across several hubs, over the three-day show, which is celebrating its fifth year in 2018.

For more information on the 2018 Education and professional development programme, and to book events, click here

GOC announces new appointments to its Companies and Investigation committees.

January 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today appointed two new registrant committee members to its Investigation Committee and three new business representatives to its Companies Committee. The committee members will provide expert advice on key areas of the GOC’s work, ensuring that it continues to take account of issues that affect registrants and the public and puts patient safety at the heart of its decisions.

Speaking about the appointments GOC Chair, Gareth Hadley, said “I would like to welcome our new committee appointments to the GOC. The input they will provide will be vital to our work in the coming months and years ahead. Their expertise will be invaluable in helping us to progress key projects such as our Education Strategic Review.”

Companies Committee business representatives

The GOC has appointed Gordon Ilett, Jonathan Gardner and Stephen Hannan as business representatives to its Companies Committee. The committee advises the Council and other committees on matters relating to business registrants and is made up of a combination of lay members and those which represent optical businesses.

Gordon Ilett is an optometrist and Managing Director of a small group of practices in South London and Kent. He has a special interest in learning disabilities and is a trustee and Vice-Chairman of SeeAbility. In his career Gordon has worked in private practice and in hospitals, also working to develop optometry training programmes in the UK and abroad.

This year, Jonathan Gardner became the Managing Director at Boots Opticians. Since joining Boots at aged 16 as a Saturday Healthcare Assistant he has had a number of varied roles in the company, working in retail, property, operations and HR. His most recent positon before moving to Boots Opticians was as Managing Director for Boots HearingCare

Stephen Hannan has been an optometrist since 2002 following his graduation from Glasgow Caledonian University. Since qualifying he has worked for Optical Express, holding a variety of positions including Regional Senior Optometrist, Clinical Services Manager and most recently Clinical Services Director. He has been published widely in scientific journals, and has a particular interest in refractive surgery.

Investigation Committee

The GOC has also appointed Christian Dutton and Richard Rawlinson to its Investigations Committee.

The committee considers allegations that a registrant may not be fit to practise (where Case Examiners cannot agree) and referrals from case examiners for an assessment of a registrant’s performance or health.

Christian Dutton has held a variety of posts as a clinical, organisational and volunteer optometrist. He holds a Master’s degree in clinical optometry and was awarded Fellowship of the College of Optometrists for promoting good practice locally and internationally. He has examined for Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC) and the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) and currently works in community ophthalmology, telemedicine triage and clinical policy development.

Richard Rawlinson is a registered dispensing optician who practices and lives in Manchester. Richard hold a number of roles, including Commissioning Lead for the
Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU), Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) Regional Lead for the North of England, Midlands and Anglia and ABDO representative on the UK Domiciliary Eyecare Committee. In addition, he is a qualified Diabetic Retinal Grader and enjoys writing and presenting CET across the UK.

Appointees to the Investigation and Companies committees will take up their posts on 1 January 2018.

GOC suspends West Midlands-based dispensing optician.

January 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Paul Cross, a dispensing optician based in the West Midlands, from its register for a period of 12 months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct, relating to processing refund transactions onto his own credit and/or debit card.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Anne Johnstone, said: “The Committee found that Mr Cross’ conduct was financially motivated and dishonest. The Committee determined the registrant believed that he was entitled to recover his own expenses and payments for his locum work. He intended to recover such payments or expenses to which he felt entitled by intentionally representing these as transactional store refunds, a method which the Committee found that he knew and accepted was not permitted.

“The Committee has accepted that the registrant genuinely believed that he was entitled to the sums that he had recovered and had not been dishonest in his financial motivation, but had used a method of recovering the money which was dishonest in the way that he had gone about it.

“The Committee considered that the registrant’s conduct breached [the] Code [of Conduct] and had been serious misconduct. An order for suspension would make clear to the public that such behaviour was unacceptable and would not be tolerated within the profession.”

Mr Cross has until 3 January 2018 to appeal his suspension.

World Council of Optometry and American Academy of Optometry announce Joint Education Meeting in 2019

January 2018

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and the American Academy of Optometry (Academy) will be co-hosting the 3rd World Congress of Optometry in conjunction with the Academy meeting to be held in Orlando, Florida, USA at the Orange County Convention Center. The meeting will feature joint CE tracks and will tentatively take place October 23-28, 2019.

Thousands of optometrists, optometry students and other eye care professionals from all over the world will have the opportunity to receive first-class education with discussions and lectures led by distinguished speakers and world-renowned optometrists.

In conjunction with the Academy meeting, the 3rd World Congress of Optometry will build on the excitement of the annual Academy meeting and continue the tradition of the 1st and 2nd Biennial World Congresses held in Medellin, Colombia in 2015 and Hyderabad, India in 2017, respectively. Information on all aspects of the meeting will be available in the future at www.worldcongressofoptometry.org and www.aaopt.org.

As in past World Congresses, the 3rd World Congress of Optometry will serve as the global platform where practitioners, students, researchers and educators will share expertise and engage in the development of the future of the profession.

The Congress will have two principal tracks: Scientific and Educators. The specially designed Educators’ track of the Congress will offer lectures, workshops and poster presentations maximizing the opportunity to advance the optometric education agenda across the world and, through that, support the sustainable development of highly needed human resources.

The Scientific track of the Congress will provide a rich and diverse programme of lectures, symposia and clinical workshops complemented by poster presentations, video and photography covering a spectrum of significant themes.

The Academy’s 98th annual meeting will feature a wide array of clinically relevant CE courses and cutting-edge research in the clinical and vision sciences.

Attendees can choose from over 250 hours of lectures and workshops, Section and Special Interest Group symposia, hundreds of scientific papers and posters, and several memorable social events.

Attendees will also have access to learn about the latest optometric products and services in the exhibit hall.

“The Academy is very excited to announce our partnership with the WCO on our joint 2019 meeting in Orlando. The cutting-edge and diverse educational program coupled with Orlando’s world-class attractions will make for a truly exciting meeting,” said Dr. Joseph Shovlin, Academy President.

In 2019, the 3rd World Congress will showcase the latest advances in vision sciences, research in optometry, optics and contact lens cutting-edge technology, recognizing the United States as a world benchmark in vision sciences. Also, our partnership with COPE-approved Continuing Education Credit providers in the United States will ensure that the academic standards for the conference and workshops meet the highest and most widely recognized global education quality standards.

“We recognize that the 3rd World Congress of Optometry, in conjunction with the Academy meeting, will be an excellent platform where we share, learn, strategize and plan together for the future of optometry worldwide. We invite you to attend the 3rd World Congress of Optometry and Academy meeting in Orlando, Florida and work with us to make this event the largest and most recognized optometry meeting in the world for 2019. Together, we will do great things!” remarked Dr. Scott Mundle, WCO President.

 
 
 
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