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Opchat Magazine Professional Matters PagesProfessional Matters News, October to December 2019

Optometry/Dispensing

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GOC Interim Director steps down.
GOC suspends a Hertfordshire based optometrist
GOC suspends Hertfordshire based dispenser
New team of local leads to cover Wales for ABDO
News from The General Optical Council publshed on 13 November 2019
Principles for good practice issued to protect patients online
GOC suspends Manchester based optometrist
New AOP guidance sheds light on over-referrals
American Academy of Optometry Foundation announces 2019 JOHNSON & JOHNSON VISION J. PAT CUMMINGS SCHOLARSHIPS
GOC launches New Standards website
First reported at the Forward View conference at the RSM last month comes further confirmation on a contract for Special Schools lobbied for by SeeAbility
GOC publishes it findings on the 3 year CET cycle ending Dec 2018.
AAOF announces THE 2019 VINCENT SALIERNO SCHOLARSHIP recipients
Government accepts recommendations to improve UK diabetic eye screening programme
Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s – FODO response
GOC launches ESR Expert Advisory Groups
ABDO responds to GOC research on risk.
Optometry Scotland – breaking down the barriers between primary and secondary care.
GOC Publishes survey results into risk in the optical professions
ABDO Rule Changes
GOC erases Suffolk based optometrist
AOP publishes guidance on the GOC’s new Business Standards
AAO Academy Foundation announces the 2019 AAOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grant Recipients
GOC announce launch of new business standards website
Electronic GOS payments and Performers List services on PCSE Online changes
Scotland: Complete your GOS mandatory training deadline reminder
GOC welcomes the Professional Standards Authority Performance Review
Archived News from the last quarter on Professional Matters July to September 2019


GOC Interim Director steps down.

November 2019

Dr Subo Shanmuganathan steps down as Interim Director of Education

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today announced that Dr Subo Shanmuganathan has stepped down from her role as Interim Director of Education, having led the GOC’s Education Strategic Review (ESR) and Continuing Education and Training (CET) Review over the last year.

Following Council sign off of the ESR implementation plan and approval of a fourth director position with responsibility for leading our ongoing Education work, Subo has decided that now is the right time to move on.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Lesley Longstone, said: “I’m extremely grateful for all the work, personal energy and commitment Subo has invested in our education work during her time with us as interim and wish her well in whatever she chooses to do next.”

This change takes effect right away and the GOC will be advertising the permanent post shortly.

GOC suspends a Hertfordshire based optometrist

November 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Bansi Shah, a registered optometrist based in Hertfordshire, from its register for nine months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found her fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct by falsely claiming to have carried out a patient examination and amending records to reflect this.

Ms Shah has until 12 December 2019 to appeal her suspension.

GOC suspends Hertfordshire based dispensing optician

November 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Nimesh Patel, a dispensing optician based in Hertfordshire, from its register for twelve months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct relating to fraudulently processing refunds and stealing cash from the till at his work.

Mr Patel has until 5 December 2019 to appeal his suspension.

New team of local leads to cover Wales for ABDO

November 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has a new team of local leads to cover Wales, allowing for representation of dispensing opticians (DOs) across all the regional optical committees (ROC).

The new local lead team includes Diana Haines who will represent DOs on the North Wales ROC, Jennifer Park and Christine Verallo (SEWROC) and Kate Hooper (SWROC).

ABDO Head of Policy Debbie McGill says, “It's great to have the new local leads representing us on the regional optical committees and the Welsh optometric committee. Having DOs and CLOs included in the planning of service delivery is key to bringing the whole optical workforce together to provide the best eye health care service in Wales.”

Kevin Milsom, ABDO’s lead for Wales, says, “Representation on all the ROCs in Wales and through these also the Welsh Optometric committee, as well as representation on Optometry Wales, allows dispensing opticians to share the views of the profession and make sure DOs are considered when roles come up for which they would be ideal. With DOs being involved in MECs and more becoming accredited to the low vision scheme, representatives on these committees will be able to ensure our DOs are ready when positions and roles become available.”

News from The General Optical Council publshed on 13 November 2019

November 2019

Education Strategic Review update


Council agreed the implementation plan for the Education Strategic Review (ESR), which is split into three stages: key deliverables, provider readiness and implementation.

The first stage began in September 2019 with the creation of the Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs), who are helping to deliver the key project deliverables:

• Learning Outcomes for students
• Education Standards for providers
• A common assessment framework
• A standards evaluation (QA) framework (SEF).

Stage one will end in July 2020 and then move in to stage two which will allow education providers time to prepare for implementation.

The last stage is divided into three tranches to accommodate providers’ needs and will begin in September 2022 and conclude in September 2024.

Gareth Hadley, Chair of the General Optical Council, said: “This is a historically significant decision marking the biggest shake up of optical education for over 35 years. The certainty that this timetable provides will assist all of us, including educational establishments themselves, to begin the process of implementation."

“We will continue to engage with the sector as we elaborate the details, but there is no turning back, these reforms will happen. This work, alongside our Continuing Education and Training (CET) Review, will ensure both new and old registrants are equipped for opportunities and challenges that could not have been imagined when the current system was designed.”

Strategic Plan 2020-2026

Council provided feedback on the draft that was presented to them and agreed that the updated strategic plan should be issued for full public consultation.

The plan will form the basis of the General Optical Council’s new strategic objectives from 2020. It will be consulted on from December to January through the GOC Consultation Hub before a final version of the strategy is presented to Council in February 2020.

Teesside University and University of Highlands and Islands

Council granted provisional approval to both Teesside University and University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) to deliver optometry programmes.

Teesside University will begin delivery of their programme in January 2020, with subsequent cohorts starting annually in September 2020. UHI will begin delivery of their programme in September 2020.

Registration fees 2020-21

Council agreed to increase the annual registration fee by £10, from £350 to £360, which is in line with previous years’ fee increases.

To view the Council papers in full, visit the GOC website.

Principles for good practice issued to protect patients online

November 2019

Healthcare organisations including regulators, royal colleges and faculties, are today Friday 8 November issuing a set of principles to help protect patient safety and welfare when accessing potentially-harmful medication online or over the phone.

The jointly-agreed High level principles for good practice in remote consultations and prescribing set out the good practice expected of healthcare professionals when prescribing medication online.

The ten principles underpinned by existing standards and guidance, include that healthcare professionals are expected to:

- Understand how to identify vulnerable patients and take appropriate steps to protect them
- Carry out clinical assessments and medical record checks to ensure medication is safe and appropriate
- Raise concerns when adequate patient safeguards aren’t in place.

These principles apply to all healthcare professionals involved in providing consultations and medication to patients remotely, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, optometrists and dispensing opticians.

The publication follows the release, in September, of a joint statement by healthcare regulators, which included a commitment to work together and with partner organisations to develop shared principles on remote consultations and prescribing.

The principles have been co-authored and agreed by:

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Care Quality Commission, Faculty of Pain Medicine, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

Lesley Longstone, Chief Executive of the GOC, said: “The optical sector, like other healthcare sectors, is changing in terms of how care is delivered, and it is important that we respond accordingly, whilst ensuring that patient safety and welfare is put first.

Remote prescribing is on the increase and these high level principles, developed in collaboration with other Healthcare organisations, reinforce the expectations we have of optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical businesses within this area.

The principles will encourage best practice and ensure our Standards for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians and the Standards for Optical Businesses are upheld in order to ensure we are continually promoting and protecting the health and safety of the public.”

The High level principles for good practice in remote consultations and prescribing is published on the GOC Standards website:

GOC suspends Manchester based optometrist

November 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Francisca Gracia Ruiz, an optometrist based in Manchester, from its register for six months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found her fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct relating to attempted shoplifting.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by James Kellock said: “These were serious acts of dishonesty by a professional person. The Registrant had three opportunities to pay for the trousers and cardigan but had not done so.

In addition, the Registrant when initially confronted claimed to have paid for the trousers and later offered to pay for them.”

Taking all of the relevant factors in to account, the Committee decided that a period of suspension is an appropriate and proportionate sanction for this case.

Ms Ruiz has until 26 November 2019 to appeal her suspension.

New AOP guidance sheds light on over-referrals

November 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has produced new guidance and a helpful infographic to explain why some eye diseases have high levels of ‘false positive’ referrals of patients to hospital.

The guidance, The truth about ‘false positive’ referrals, shows that optometrists in community practice are already very good at identifying low prevalence diseases, such as glaucoma. But they could cut the number of false positive referrals, and reduce pressure on overstretched hospital eye departments, if NHS England funded more tests and checks in primary care.

The guidance shows how high false positive referral rates are inevitable where a disease only affects a small proportion of people. It will be used to improve understanding of eye disease referral rates among decision-makers and the health sector, as well as within optics itself.

AOP Clinical Director, Dr Peter Hampson said: “Identifying eye diseases, such as glaucoma, is a core function of the sight test, and referring suspected cases to hospital for further tests and treatment is a key part of the optometrist’s role. As our new guidance shows, diseases such as glaucoma thankfully only affect a small part of the population. That means that even though we use good tests, and apply them accurately, some of the patients we refer to hospital will turn out not to need treatment."

Dr Hampson added: "That's good news for the patients involved, but it uses up valuable capacity in busy hospitals. There's real scope for the NHS to make more use of the skills of the community optometrists, by commissioning them to do further tests before they refer a patient to hospital."

Read the full report here

American Academy of Optometry Foundation announces 2019 JOHNSON & JOHNSON VISION J. PAT CUMMINGS SCHOLARSHIPS

November 2019

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Vision is pleased to announce the 2019 J. Pat Cummings Scholarship recipients.

This award is bestowed annually to a second or third year optometry student who best demonstrates the ideal eye care standards of practice, achievement in both academic performance and extra-curricular activities, and participation with other professional pursuits such as involvement with patients through internships, community service, and other volunteer activities.

The 2019 J. Pat Cummings Scholarship Recipients are:

Connor Robbs Illinois College of Optometry
Mattie Monroe Indiana University School of Optometry
Joel Muñoz Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry
Vincent Thoren Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University School of Optometry
Kaitlyn Arnold Michigan College of Optometry
Eric Yoshinaga Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry
Katie Li New England College of Optometry
Trenton Kellog Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Joshua Black Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry
Nicholas Grant Pacific University College of Optometry
Laura Gutsin Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Rachel Warner Rosenberg School of Optometry
Courtney Park Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Lauren Watson Southern College of Optometry
Kevin Singh State University of New York College of Optometry
Lindsey Hutchinson The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Dana Shannon University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Jacqueline Nguyen University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Selena Aloisio University of Houston College of Optometry
Meagan Anderson University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry
Anabel Cormier University of Montreal School of Optometry
Breck Dakin University of Pikeville Kentucky School of Optometry
Song Kim University of Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science
Aruj Ali Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry

The AAOF is thankful for the professional relationship between the Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Vision.

Their support for this program continues to uphold the high caliber of optometric resident education.

GOC launches New Standards website

November 2019

To help optical businesses implement the new Standards for Optical Businesses that came into effect 1 October, the GOC has launched a new Standards website.

The site presents the standards in an accessible and searchable format, and includes supporting guidance, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and videos with tips on how to apply the standards in practice.

It also features a blog, which we will populate on a regular basis with interviews and articles on hot topics.

Visit the site to read the new Standards and the latest blog posts.

First reported at the Forward View conference at the RSM last month comes further confirmation on a contract for Special Schools lobbied for by SeeAbility

November 2019

The first steps towards new GOS contract for Special Schools is currently being negotiated at the OFNC.


The Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) is seeking volunteer practices to seek the “best of contract” a new kind of GOS services for children and young adults with learning disabilities and people in special schools.

Plans for the new service were set out in the new NHS Long Term Plan earlier this year.

The purpose of the new service is to provide ongoing eye care to pupils with learning disabilities and those in special schools.

A number of special schools have put themselves forward to try to become part of the “proof of concept” phase from January – March 2020.

The OFNC has written to national domiciliary providers and LOC’s in which the schools are located to ask the volunteers to participate.

The “proof of concept” phase is key to gauge the service specification and fee levels of which OFNC is close to finalising with NHS England/DSC.

In a statement made by FODO’s David Hewlett, he said: “We are hoping practices would come forward to be part of this as OFNC wants to get this right and by any means, what we do here will influence the wider GOS community and eye care for decades to come.”

GOC publishes it findings on the 3 year CET cycle ending Dec 2018.

November 2019

CPD has been mandatory since 2005. In response to a Government white paper in 2007, ensuring registrants’ continuing fitness to practise (revalidation), we carried out research into risks associated with optical practice in 2010. As a proportionate response to ensuring revalidation, the scheme was enhanced in 2012, with changes coming into effect for the 2013-15 CET cycle. The 2016-18 CET cycle ended in December 2018 and we are now carrying out an evaluation of the cycle, comparing it to the previous cycle where possible to do so.

Completion of CET during the cycle

• Most registrants are carrying out more than their minimum CET requirements.

• The CET scheme has been effective in meetings its aims of reducing professional isolation, with significant numbers of registrants carrying out more than their minimum peer review requirements and the vast majority meeting their interactive CET requirements.

• The CET scheme has had some success in ensuring that registrants keep up to date in all of the knowledge and skills relevant to their scope of practice, with all registrants being required to cover a range of competencies and complete a personal development plan.

• The CET scheme has been effective in ensuring that registrants maintain their knowledge and skills throughout the duration of the cycle, with the vast majority of registrants completing a minimum of six points per year and 60% completing at least 12 points per year.

• Of those registrants who had not completed their CET requirements by 31 October 2018, many had intended to do so sooner but had not been able to due to personal circumstances. Respondents to our survey tended to find interactive points the most difficult to complete and around 25% found it onerous to accept CET points.

• A small proportion (4-5%) of registrants would have met their requirements sooner in the last year of the cycle if they had logged in to MyCET to verify completion of CET and accept their points, meaning that we would not have had to send out 1,100 of the letters that we were required to send to registrants who had not met their CET requirements as at 31 October 2018.

• Most registrants continue to verify and accept CET points even after meeting their minimum requirements, supporting the finding that a large proportion of registrants are meeting more than their minimum CET requirements.

• Our communications towards the end of the CET cycle to encourage completion of CET appeared to increase MyCET activity and were found by most respondents to our survey to be clear and easy to understand. MyCET activity tended to peak in March and November/December each year so we will need to consider the implications for resourcing.

• Registrants working in independents were more likely to meet their CET requirements sooner than those who worked in multiples, and significantly more likely than those who were locums. Some registrants completing our survey suggested that better CET resources or more interactive CET for locums would be helpful.

• UK registrants were more likely to complete their requirements sooner than non-UK registrants, but the difference was not as marked as we had anticipated.
Compliance with CET requirements at end of CET cycle

• A very small proportion of registrants (1.9% of the register, similar to the last cycle) did not meet their CET requirements as at 31 December 2018 (not including those who had already told us they wished to retire/withdraw from the register), with 46% of those registrants submitting a dispute and/or an application for consideration of exceptional circumstances.

• 63% of the disputes and 40% of the exceptional circumstances applications were accepted, leading to the registrant remaining on the register. We will consider if the changes we made to MyCET in 2019 have made it less onerous for registrants to verify and accept CET points and if there is anything that can be done to ensure that providers upload confirmation of completion of CET before the end of the cycle if they are holding CET activities late in the cycle.

• The number of appeals increased from nine in the 2013-15 cycle to 12 in the 2016-18 cycle, but we are not unduly concerned about the increase due to the small figures. We will continue to learn from the outcome of the appeals.

Reflective practice

• Registrants are using the reflective practice tools on MyCET even where they are not required to do so, with 80% of registrants creating additional learning goals and 60% using reflection statements for activities other than peer review.

• A very small proportion of registrants (4%) are using MyCET to record non-CET activities.
Effectiveness of CET approval process

• The number of CET approval applications has decreased by 10% since the last cycle, which may be due to the decision to approve CET for the full cycle in the 2016-18 CET cycle rather than on a one-year basis as previously in the 2013-15 CET cycle.

• Approvers are much more likely to ask for further information before rejecting a CET approval application than they were at the end of the 2013-15 CET cycle and this may be as a result of the annual training events where approvers were encouraged to engage more with CET providers.

• The total percentage of appeals for rejected CET approval applications has remained stable across the 2013-15 and 2016-18 CET cycles at 2%.

• 91% of CET approval applications are completed within our targets and we will need to consider if we can improve this further.

Provider performance

• Providers are performing well, with 79% of the 322 providers uploading confirmation of completion of CET within the deadline following CET events.

• Feedback scores for providers is consistently high, with an average of 91% across all providers, ranging between 78-100%.

Availability and accessibility of CET

• Over 16,000 CET activities were available to registrants during the cycle, spread across the competencies they are required to complete.

• CET events were spread across a large number of locations and regions.

• Over 4,500 registrants attended registrant-led peer reviews.

• One and a half times more CET points are awarded for events requiring physical attendance than distance-learning activities.

• The CET system is reliant on a very small number of providers to deliver the majority of CET, which could cause difficulties in the availability of CET if one of these providers were to cease
operating.

The full rport is available here

AAOF announces THE 2019 VINCENT SALIERNO SCHOLARSHIP recipients

November 2019

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation announces the recipients of the 2019 Vincent Salierno Scholarships.

The 2019 Vincent Salierno Scholarship recipients are:

Kenneth Dang New England College of Optometry
Mark Calixte Nova Southeastern University School of Optometry
Christopher Muegge Southern College of Optometry
Ryan Sandberg Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Sarah Supak University of Houston College of Optometry

Students pursuing a Doctorate of Optometry degree are nominated by his/her institution for this scholarship. Each recipient will receive $2,000 to apply to their tuition.

The Vincent Salierno Scholarship is eligible for automatic renewal provided that the recipient maintains a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and is enrolled in a full-time course of study leading to a Doctorate of Optometry degree. Continued eligibility shall be determined annually.

Vincent Salierno was on the Board of Directors of the Columbus Hospital in New Jersey. His family valued and continued his philanthropy and after his death in January 1973, his widow Rose established the Vincent Salierno Scholarship Fund with Foundation to provide scholarships to students in the field of optometry. Over the past thirty years more than one hundred scholarships have been awarded.

Government accepts recommendations to improve UK diabetic eye screening programme

October 2019


Following a review of adult screening programmes in England, commissioned in November 2018, the government is considering whether NHS England should become the body responsible for commissioning and delivering adult screening services including diabetic eye screening in England.

Proposed reforms to the diabetic eye screening programmes include: improving IT to ensure people are not lost to screening when they move out of an area; introducing optical coherence tomography (OCT) to reduce false positive referrals to the hospital eye service compared to relying just on digital photography; and linking diabetic eye information with other control metrics for diabetes.

It is not yet known if or when these changes will be implemented.

Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s – FODO response

October 2019

The government’s public health Green Paper describes the 2020s as “the decade of proactive, predictive, and personalised prevention”, where targeted support and tailored lifestyle advice will be key to health care.

However, the Green Paper has been widely criticised as a ‘missed opportunity’, with the government failing to take the necessary bold action to address inequalities in health, in particular to reduce the number of years people spend in poor health.

FODO responded to the consultation by suggesting a number of positive actions that government should take.

It also highlighted the key role primary eye care services have in preserving eye health and good vision and the impact this can have on other aspects of health and wellbeing.

Read FODO’s full response. You can also read the British and Irish Orthoptic Society response and Vision UK response.

GOC launches ESR Expert Advisory Groups

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today announced the establishment of two new Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs), advising on the education and training of optometrists and dispensing opticians respectively, to help shape the new Learning Outcomes for students and Education Standards for providers as part of the Education Strategic Review (ESR).

Philippa Mann, GOC Head of Education, said: “Our two new expert advisory groups will play a vital role in the next phase of our Education Strategic Review. Their insights and expertise will help us in the further development of the education standards and learning outcomes to ensure that the changes made to optical education are focused on meeting patient needs and maintaining public safety.

“We want to make the groups as transparent as possible, so we have committed to consulting on their work as we go on through our Open Canvas approach. This will enable all stakeholders to share their views in much the same way as the groups’ members. We hope that this will demystify the development process and enable the groups to obtain even more wide-reaching feedback and improve the quality of the end products. Our collective goal is to ensure that, in an ever-changing sector, optical education evolves to prepare practitioners for the future.”

The purpose of the EAGs is to advise and assist with the further development of the Education Standards and Learning Outcomes, including providing expertise in the development of a standards evaluation (quality assurance) framework and a common assessment framework.

Both EAGs consist of a variety of stakeholders, including GOC Council and Committee members, GOC Education Visitor Panel members, employers, registrants and other optical professionals, CET providers, academic staff from education providers, representatives from professional bodies, NHS commissioners, students and patients.

The overall purpose of the ESR is to review and make recommendations on how the system of optical education and training should evolve so that registrants are equipped to carry out the roles they will be expected to perform in the future in order to meet the changing needs of patients.

The EAGs will continue to meet on a monthly basis until March 2020. Following the completion of their work, the revised Learning Outcomes and Education Standards will be presented to Council in May 2020.

The full list of EAG members can be found on the GOC website Here:

To access and provide feedback to the Open Canvas, visit the GOC Consultation Hub

If you would like to join the dedicated ESR mailing list, please contact education@optical.org.

ABDO responds to GOC research on risk.

October 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has responded to GOC research into risk in the optical professions. ABDO president Clive Marchant FBDO said: “The Association welcomes this report. We are delighted to read that the optical profession and in particular dispensing opticians continues to provide an outstanding service to the public with minimal risk. This clearly demonstrates that our high level of education and independent external examination is robust."

“Dispensing opticians and optometrists are advancing their scope of practice and the range of services that they provide in high street practice. This is a great advantage for the public and will contribute to an ongoing reduction in cases of preventable sight loss. Clearly this is only possible if our level of education is robust and progressive, and assessed by independent external examination. The GOC education review must recognise that our current education and examination model is fit for purpose but must be progressive to incorporate the advancement of skill which are currently are obtained post qualification."

“The GOC’s key function is public protection and if the professions’ excellent low risk track record is to be maintained higher standards are essential. The concept of minimum standards and variable methods of qualification is unconscionable.”See GOC story

Optometry Scotland – breaking down the barriers between primary and secondary care.

October 2019

Eyecare leaders are launching Scottish Eyecare for Everyone (SEE) – a nationwide network and forum that will advance eye health in Scotland. The decision follows an eyecare policy event at the University of Aberdeen on 25 September to mark National Eye Health Week.

The SEE will aim to break down barriers and foster collaboration to ensure Scotland’s primary eye care service continues to lead the world in preventative eye health care and works even more closely with secondary care which is under increasing pressure.

Frank Munro, Optometry Scotland’s Clinical Advisor, said: “Pressure on secondary care services means many hospital eye departments are working to capacity – it’s vital that we now ask how community eyecare can be further refined, what more can be done to encourage joint working between primary and secondary care, and what else can be done to improve the current GOS arrangements to secure the future of Scotland’s eye health.”

GOC Publishes survey results into risk in the optical professions

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC) published last week the results of its survey and interview-based study into risk in the optical professions.

Analysis showed that optometry and dispensing optics remain low risk when compared to other healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses. However, the research shows that the risk profile of the professions could increase in the future as registrants take on more clinical work and encounter patients with more complex needs.

A variety of methods were used to conduct the research, including an online registrant survey, followed by focus groups and in-depth interviews with registrants and key stakeholders. Secondary research was also conducted via an analysis of GOC Fitness to Practise (FTP) data and information from the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS).

An analysis of the allegations received for each FTP case highlights that the most common allegations related to incorrect or missed diagnosis, inappropriate or missed referrals, failure to conduct appropriate tests, incorrect prescriptions provided, inaccurate/inadequate advice provided, and poor record keeping.

Registrants who participated in the research perceived that the riskier areas of practice related to detecting and managing ocular disease, referral decisions and independent prescribing (for optometrists).

Participants also viewed poor communication with patients and not being candid when things go wrong as two riskier areas of practice. It was suggested by some that poor communication could become a more severe risk in the future, because effective communication is likely to become increasingly important as optical professionals take on more clinical roles and responsibilities. More routine areas such as the sight test and fitting spectacles were seen as less risky.

In terms of risks related to the context in which registrants work, participants perceived the following as most likely to occur in practice:

• Time constraints with patients
• Commercial and performance target pressure
• Poor or inadequate staffing
• Working as a locum

The research also explored perceptions of the future risks to patients in the next five years. Stakeholders identified the following top four:

• Commercial pressure/ targets and time constraints
• Pressure on hospital services (delayed referrals/long waiting times)
• Lack of skills and/or training for enhanced optical services
• Unregulated online sales of contact lenses and spectacles

Dr Subo Shanmuganathan, interim Director of Education said: “Since we last conducted this research in 2010 the optical sector has changed a great deal. This research has provided a wealth of invaluable information about both the perceptions of risk and what we see as trends from our FTP cases. The research findings will help improve the actions we take to protect patients.

“One of the key insights that emerged from the research was the view that optical education and training needs to evolve to prepare newly qualified and existing registrants for changes in the optical sector. We will use this knowledge to inform both our Continuing Education and Training (CET) and Education Strategic Reviews.

“I would like to thank all of our registrants and stakeholders who participated. Many gave us a lot of their valuable time and the quality of the research reflects that input.”

To read the research report in full please visit the GOC website

ABDO Rule Changes

October 2019

At its consultation day last week, members of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) voted to pass amendments to the Association’s rules, enabling a wider pool of members to consider standing for the role.

Clive Marchant FBDO, ABDO president, explained the thinking behind the move: “In recent years, the activities of the Association have grown enormously. Subsequently, the president’s role has expanded to encompass two roles: as an ambassador representing the Association at home and abroad at graduations and many inter-professional events; and chair of the ABDO board, attending a vast variety of internal and external meetings.

Most members are employed DOs and have family commitments, so the current presidential workload could be prohibitive to many considering taking on the presidential role.”

The changes to the Articles of Association will enable those elected from within the board to either take on the full presidential role or to have a split role. The latter would entail being a ceremonial president without chairing the board and undertaking the political role, or vice versa. If an individual elected from within the board elects to only take on the political role and chair the board, the changes enable the board to elect a ceremonial president outside of the board from the wider ABDO membership.

Clive continued, “We hope that these changes will encourage and enable more members to come forward to seek election to the board and consider progressing to president or chairman of the board. It will also enable those outside of the board to take on a ceremonial presidential role.”

A Special General Meeting of the ABDO Benevolent Fund also voted on amendments to the Trust Deed to bring it up-to-date and in line with modern governance.

GOC erases Suffolk based optometrist

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to erase Jignesh Patel, an optometrist based in Suffolk, from its register. He will now be unable to practise as an optometrist in the UK.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of his conviction of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Julia Wortley said:

“The Committee accepted that the Registrant stated his intention was never to speed in a motor vehicle again. The Committee also accepted that many people who know the Registrant are prepared to work with him again and that those people appear to understand and forgive his actions. However, the Committee was of the view that the wider public would be very concerned that a professional optometrist had been convicted of such a serious offence, is still serving a sentence and is proposing to return to unrestricted practice.

“The Committee considered that, although a single incident, this was a very serious incident resulting in the death of a young man, for which the Registrant was responsible.

“In the Committee’s view it was necessary and proportionate for the Registrant to be removed from the register to promote and maintain public confidence in the profession and to promote and maintain proper professional standards of conduct for members of the profession.”

Mr Patel has until 24 October 2019 to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate suspension order.

AOP publishes guidance on the GOC’s new Business Standards

October 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has published comprehensive guidance for members on the new GOC’s Business Standards, which came into effect on 1 October.

The Standards for Optical Businesses replace the previous GOC Code of Conduct for business registrants.

Welcoming the new standards, AOP Clinical Director, Dr Peter Hampson, said: “The new Business Standards should help to redress the balance between the expectations placed on individual registrants and those placed on businesses. This was one of the AOP’s main areas of concern when the GOC originally published the standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians in 2016. These new standards go some way to making those requirements fairer.”

The AOP’s guidance, which has been produced in response, aims to help members navigate the new Business Standards – highlighting how they can be met.

Speaking about the new online resource, Dr Hampson said: “We’ve produced this guidance to help business registrants feel confident when making changes to their practices or existing policies and systems in order to reflect the GOC’s new Business Standards. The advice will evolve as it becomes clearer what the GOC expects from business registrants, but in the meantime, it should enable members to be well prepared and ensure they comply.”

The GOC’s Business Standards are split into three main areas, with sub areas for each:

• Your patients

• Your culture and governance

• Your staff

To read the AOP’s guidance visit here

AAO Academy Foundation announces the 2019 AAOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grant Recipients

October 2019

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 AAOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grants. The program was started in 2014 to create a climate of giving back to the profession and promote involvement in Academy chapters at North American schools and colleges of optometry. Each school raised the funds and the money is being matched with a travel grant opportunity for each student to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry, October 23-27, 2019.

The 2019 recipients and the participating institutions are:

Alexandra Beachnau Illinois College of Optometry
Randi-Jo Francis Illinois College of Optometry
Ashley Ladd Indiana University School of Optometry
Cade Millikin Indiana University School of Optometry
Anthony Offerle Indiana University School of Optometry
Noa Robson Indiana University School of Optometry
Elizabeth Casper Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Alexandra Matejczyk Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Hannah Sanders Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Brianna Weber Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Erin Filbrant The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Derek Heimlich The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Lindsey Hutchinson The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Lindsay Page The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Paige Scott The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Emma Thompson The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Ashley Bachkhaz Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Jessie Vorachek Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Alex Kim State University of New York College of Optometry
Siyun Ren State University of New York College of Optometry
Mackenzie Edwards Dziedzic University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Kelsie L. Morgan University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Sadiksha Prasain University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Nicole Leigh Roddy University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Samantha Lin University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Thuy Nguyen University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Julia Bao University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
Silva Lo University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
Brittany Martin University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
Logan Ritchhart University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry

GOC announce launch of new business standards website



The General Optical Council (GOC) announces the launch of a new website to support the new Standards for Optical Businesses that came into effect on 1 October 2019.

The website presents the new business standards in an accessible and searchable format, making it easy for optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical business owners to find the information they require. The website hosts supporting guidance, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and videos with top tips about how to apply the standards in practice. The website also includes a blog which will feature interviews with opinion leaders and business registrants.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy said: “Our new Standards for Optical Businesses came into force on the 1st October 2019. The new standards reflect the good practice that all optical business owners should follow and we urge all businesses to read them and decide how to apply them in their practice. We also welcome the support of our stakeholders in raising awareness of the standards and publishing guidance for their members.

“We hope that our new standards website will be a useful resource for all registrants and optical business owners. We will be adding content on an on-going basis and welcome feedback about the kind of content we should provide.

“I would also like to encourage anyone who would like to learn more about the new Standards for Optical Businesses to register for our CET accredited webinar on the 24 October. The webinar presents a great opportunity for registrants to engage with us directly.”

The new Standards for Optical Businesses replace the previous Code of Conduct for business registrants and reflect changes in optical practice including the use of new technology, expanding scopes of practice and multidisciplinary working. In addition to providing support to optical business owners, business standards also help enhance public confidence. Independent research showed that 84 per cent of patients interviewed said they would rather ‘use an optical business that meets a certain set of standards, than one that does not’.

Visit the Standards microsite: https://standards.optical.org/

To register for the GOC Business Standards webinar visit here:

Electronic GOS payments and Performers List services on PCSE Online changes

October 2019

Ophthalmic Payments
|
PCSE receives and manually processes almost 20 million handwritten GOS forms a year. In a digital-age we want to provide you with a more efficient way to submit, track and manage your claims. We are looking to create easy-to-use systems that will simplify and speed up the ophthalmic payments process by:

Introducing two new electronic options for securely submitting GOS claims

Launching an online service so you can track claims, view statements and more easily reconcile your payments.

The move to electronic processes will remove the need for paper, reduce supplies and postage costs, offer greater visibility of claims, provide statements at the click of a button and in turn simplify your reconciliation processes.

You can find more about the benefits of the new service here.

You can also read some of our Frequently Asked Questions about using PCSE Online for Ophthalmic Payments in our FAQ Booklet.Performers Lists

Performers List Applications

We are introducing a simple, online service for submitting and tracking performer list applications.

All applications will be made online, through PCSE Online, instead of via a paper-based application form.

Applicants will be able to submit supporting documentation online and check the status of their application too. Where required, the PCSE National Engagement Team (NET) will carry out face-to-face identity checks.

A self-service function will enable performers to confirm or amend their own details (e.g. change of address or status) via the portal as and when required.

Overall, the move from paper-based applications and change notifications to online will create a more simplified, quicker process.

Download more information including the benefits of the new service here

Scotland: Complete your GOS mandatory training deadline reminder

October 2019

General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) providers in Scotland are reminded that all optometrists and OMPs have to undertake annual mandatory training.

Optometry Scotland (OS) has confirmed that for 2018/19 all First Port of Call Reflective Account of Practice must be submitted by 31 December 2019.

If this is not completed no payments will be received for delivering GOS services. OS signposts all practitioners to the 10 Step guide – GOS Mandatory Training.

GOC welcomes the Professional Standards Authority Performance Review

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today welcomed the publication of the Professional Standards Authority (‘the Authority’) Annual Review of Performance 2017/18. The GOC has met 22 of the 24 Standards of Good Regulation.

The GOC met all of the relevant standards of good regulation for its Standards and Education work and made progress with the management of Fitness to Practise (FTP) complaints. The Authority’s report notes the improvements that the GOC has made to its fitness to practise (FTP) processes, including the introduction of acceptance criteria to assess whether a complaint may constitute a fitness to practise allegation; and changes to the triage process which is used to determine whether a full FTP investigation will be opened.

Lesley Longstone, Chief Executive and Registrar said: “We welcome The Authority’s report and their feedback on our work to protect the public. We have endeavoured to improve the initial assessment activity we undertake at triage stage when we receive an FTP complaint, so we are pleased to see this is recognised in us meeting the relevant standard.”

The standards the GOC did not meet related to data errors on the register and the total time taken to process fitness to practise complaints. The review covered the period 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2018.

Lesley Longstone added, “In respect of the data errors, we have now improved our standard operating procedures to ensure that post hearing, amendments to the register or registrant record are made at the appropriate time. We are confident that these improvements will address the Authority’s concerns in this area.

“However, we recognise that we still have significant work to do in addressing the backlogs and delays within our FTP process. We are confident that our updated acceptance criteria and enhanced triage process will ensure that we only open investigations into those concerns that could impact on a registrant’s fitness to practice or to undertake training. We are committed to reducing the time it takes to investigate FTP concerns, and will ensure that cases are regularly reviewed and closed at an earlier stage where there is no ongoing risk to the public. Currently our ability to hold FTP hearings is reduced by the limited availability of hearing panel members. We are pleased, therefore, that we have now secured the legislative change needed to appoint extra panel members. This will allow us to hold more FTP hearings simultaneously and speed up the process of dealing with complaints for the benefit of patients and registrants.”

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley added, “Earlier this year the Government published its response to its 2017 consultation: Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation. There was a welcome emphasis on modernising FTP processes so that regulators can make FTP decisions more quickly, to provide an early resolution for patients and registrants. We look forward to getting more detail about their proposals and taking those changes forward.”

The full report is available at here https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/publications/performance-review-detail/performance-review-goc-2017-18


 
 
 
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