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Opchat Magazine Professional Matters PagesProfessional Matters News, July to September 2018


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GOC to run focus groups on draft Standards for optical businesses.
GOC News from your Council July 2018
GOC appoints new Hearings Panel members.
The last 3 months news

GOC to run focus groups on draft Standards for optical businesses.

July 2018

The GOC is running five focus groups as part of its consultation process on the new draft ‘Standards for optical businesses’.

The focus groups, for practicing professionals and business owners, will take place across five different locations on the following dates:

• Birmingham - Thursday 2 August
• Bristol - Friday 3 August
• Edinburgh - Tuesday 7 August
• Leeds - Thursday 9 August
• London - Tuesday 14 August

The focus groups will be facilitated by Pye Tait Consulting, who are also carrying out phone interviews with optical professionals and business owners as part of the consultation process.

If you are interested in taking part in a focus group or phone interview, you can find out more about the process here. Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians in Business should consider involvement. Register your interest here

GOC News from your Council July 2018

July 2018

Acceptance criteria

Council approved new Fitness to Practise (FTP) Acceptance Criteria.

The criteria will define the circumstances where the GOC will accept a complaint as an allegation of a registrant’s impaired fitness to practise. Those that do not meet the criteria would be closed, and may be directed to another organisation, without referral to GOC Case Examiners.

The criteria will be beneficial to both the public and registrants, allowing for more efficiency and speed in handling cases that raise fitness to practise concerns, and allowing registrants to avoid the stress of being involved in an FTP case when it is not necessary.

From December 2017 to March 2018, the GOC consulted on the draft acceptance criteria which received support from the majority of stakeholders that responded. The consultation included two guidance documents, one for staff and one for the public. In response to comments from stakeholders the GOC has combined the two into one document, providing much clearer guidance which will improve transparency and avoid confusion.

The acceptance criteria is expected to be finalised by the end of July, with the criteria being formally introduced in September 2018.

OCCS Annual Report 2017-2018

The Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) gave a presentation on its annual report for the year 2017/18. Some trends from the report include: a decrease in customer service complaints from thirty-three per cent to twenty-six per cent and increase in the complexity of their caseload. The top complaint issues referred to OCCS were perceived errors with prescriptions, outcomes of laser eye surgery and dispensing.

97 per cent of enquiries were concluded with a resolution and 76 per cent of service users would use the OCCS service again.

During the 2017/18 year, OCCS achieved several of its objectives, including the implementation of a plan for improved accessibility for consumers with disabilities, sharing the insight of consumer complaints gained by OCCS with the public and optical professions, and improving consumer contact pathways to increase direct enquiries with OCCS rather than the GOC

Fitness to Practice (FTP) team.

OCCS will continue to support the GOC during 2018/19 by continuing to improve upon their 2017/18 objectives, assisting the GOC FTP team to conclude FTP complaints quickly and efficiently, and preparing its services for the introduction of the FTP acceptance criteria.

2018 Love Your Lenses Week update

Council received an update on this year’s Love Your Lenses week (24-30 March). The campaign reached almost 2 million people across print and radio and 1.7 million on social media. The campaign was created to improve patient safety by raising patient awareness of how to buy and wear contact lenses safely. This year more stakeholders got involved which the GOC expects to continue as awareness of the campaign grows.

An infographic was made at Halloween encouraging people who chose to wear contact lenses as part of their fancy dress to buy their lenses safely and legally, resulting in 165 pieces of media coverage on this topic alone.

The GOC is planning to continue Love Your Lenses week in 2019 and will be working through the rest of the year on maintaining and increasing public awareness of the campaign to ensure that contact lens wearers continue to get the right safety advice.

Other news

Council has granted full approval to the BSc (Hons) Ophthalmic Dispensing and Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing at Bradford College (without conditions).

Council also granted full approval to the Post-graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Prescribing at Cardiff University (without conditions) and the proposed changes to reduce the duration of the programme from three months to two months.

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley paid tribute to Lisa Davis, Director of Fitness to Practise, who will be leaving the GOC after four and a half years. Lisa has secured a new role as CEO of her local Citizens Advice, which she will commence in early September. Gareth said, “Lisa has made a great contribution in her time at the GOC and we will very much miss her. However we’re very happy for her that she is moving on to a Chief Executive job.”

Interim Chief Executive Adam Sampson’s report noted the GOC will soon be consulting on the future of Continuing Education and Training (CET). The GOC can confirm that this consultation is due to launch on Tuesday 17 July.

GOC appoints new Hearings Panel members.

July 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC) has appointed four new Hearings Panel members: Caroline Corby, Amit Jinabhai, Kathryn King and Julia Wortley.

The Hearings Panel decides the outcomes of fitness to practise hearings. It is impartial and independent of Council.

GOC Director of Fitness to Practise, Lisa Davis, said “We are pleased to welcome these new members to the Committee as they each bring valuable skills and insight from their diverse experiences. Their wide expertise will be beneficial in maintaining and demonstrating good practice and fairness at hearings.”

Dr Amit Jinabhai joins the panel as an optometrist who graduated from UMIST and has a PhD from The University of Manchester (Faculty of Life Sciences). In 2012, he was awarded the British College of Optometrists' George Giles prize for outstanding postgraduate research. He currently works as a Senior Lecturer for The University of Manchester, within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health.

Julia Wortley joins the panel as a lay member. Julia has worked in the Met’s Professional Standards Department investigating public complaints, as a Superintendent for nine years, and as Assistant Chief Constable with Essex Police. From 2015-2017, Julia was made Deputy Chief Constable and Programme Director for the 7 Force Strategic Collaboration Programme, a complex enterprise delivering enhanced public service, efficiency and effectiveness for seven counties.

Kathryn King joins the panel as a lay member. She has experience as an ombudsman and administrative justice professional. A Disciplinary Panel Tribunal Member for the Bar Tribunals Adjudication Service and an academic researcher, she also has extensive experience of determining complex cases at three national Ombudsman schemes, including as Chief Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales.

Caroline Corby joins the panel as a lay member. She worked for thirteen years specialising in private equity. Caroline is a Non-Executive Director of the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (known as Cafcass), the Criminal Cases Review Commission, One Housing and JML. She also chairs interim order panels for the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Caroline will be stepping down from her role as the GOC’s Investigation Committee chair to join the Hearings Panel.

All new members take up their positions on 1 July 2018 apart from Caroline Corby, who will begin on 5 July 2018.


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