2021-22 archived consultation: Education and training requirements for entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician
3 Jan 2022
20 Sep 2021
This consultation was previously hosted on our consultation hub. We have moved it here as part of archiving.
We consulted on proposals to update our requirements for specialist entry to the GOC register as a Contact Lens Optician.
In general, the proposed Outcomes and Standards for approved qualifications for specialist entry to the GOC register as a Contact Lens Optician were positively received. Our consultation closed in January 2022 and we received 29 responses.
We commissioned Enventure Research to analyse the responses and the report is available to view on our website.
We welcome the feedback received and have reflected on the points that have been raised in the feedback to this consultation. As a result, a number of minor amendments were made to the Outcomes and Standards for Approved Qualifications for Specialist Entry to the GOC Register as a Contact Lens Optician. The record of amendments to the Contact Lens Optician Education and Training Requirements following the Public Consultation may be found on page 303 of the June 2022 GOC Council meeting papers.
This consultation seeks your views on our proposals to update our requirements for specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician. These proposals are available to download at the bottom of this page under the 'related' section.
What are we seeking your views on?
- Our proposed Outcomes for Approved Qualifications for Specialist Entry to the GOC Register as a contact lens optician ('outcomes for approved qualifications') which describes the expected knowledge, skills and behaviours a dispensing optician must have for the award of an approved qualification for specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician.
- Our proposed Standards for Approved Qualifications for Specialist Entry to the GOC Register as a contact lens optician ('standards for approved qualifications') which describes the expected context for the delivery and assessment of the outcomes leading to an award of an approved qualification for specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician.
- Our proposed Quality Assurance and Enhancement Method for Specialist Entry to the GOC Register as a contact lens optician ('quality assurance and enhancement method') which describe how we will gather evidence to decide in accordance with the Opticians Act 1989 whether a qualification for specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician meets our outcomes for approved qualifications and standards for approved qualifications.
- Our outline impact assessment, which describes our assessment of the impact of our proposals to update our requirements for approved qualifications for specialist entry to the GOC register.
These proposals are available to download at the bottom of this page.
What will our proposals replace?
Together, these documents will replace ‘Visit Handbook Guidelines for the Approval of: A) Training Institutions; and B) Providers for Schemes for Registration for United Kingdom Contact Lens Opticians’ (published November 2007) and the ‘Contact Lens Speciality Core Competencies’ published in 2011 including the list of required core competences, the numerical requirements for trainees’ practical experiences, education policies and guidance contained within the handbooks, and our policies on supervision and recognition of prior learning, which are published separately. You can read the documents we are proposing to replace, here: handbook and competencies.
Why are we consulting?
We would like to hear your views and receive evidence of the impact of our proposals to update our education and training requirements for GOC approved qualifications for specialist entry to the GOC register to ensure that the qualifications we approve in the future are responsive to the changing landscape in the delivery of eye-care services and fit for purpose in each of the UK nations.
Our proposals mitigate the risk that our current requirements (contained within our quality assurance handbooks) become out of date.
The proposed outcomes and standards for approved qualifications and quality assurance and enhancement method together will ensure the qualifications we approve are responsive to the changing needs of patients and service-users and changes in higher education, not least as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, as well as increased expectations of the trainees, commissioners and employers.
What have we consulted on previously?
These proposals are based on our analysis of our responses to our Call for Evidence, Concepts and Principles Consultation 2017-2018, feedback from our 2018-2019 consultation on proposals stemming from the Education Strategic Review (ESR) and associated research, and our public consultation held in July-September 2020 on proposals to update our requirements for GOC approved qualifications leading to registration as an optometrist or a dispensing optician. For more information, please see the GOC's consultation hub. For further information about the ESR, please visit the ESR policy development and research page.
How have we developed our proposals?
Our proposals have been guided by evidence-based policy making and draw upon best practice from other regulators, professional and chartered bodies. You can read our research, background and briefing papers here.
In preparing this document we were advised by an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) with input from the Quality Assurance Agency and feedback from a range of stakeholder groups including our Education Visitors, our Advisory Panel (including the Education Committee), the optical sector and sight-loss charities.
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to help us develop our proposals to ensure our proposed outcomes for approved qualifications, standards for approved qualifications and quality assurance and enhancement method protects and benefits the public, safeguards patients, and helps to secure the health of service-users.
You can read the EAGs’ terms of reference and membership here.
What are our key proposals?
a. Candidates will acquire a qualification approved by the GOC leading to specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician.
b. The approved qualification will be either an academic award or a regulated qualification at a minimum of Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) (or equivalent) level 6.
c. There will be no proposed minimum/maximum or recommended time or credit volume for an approved qualification or specified location or duration of clinical experience, other than the requirement that an approved qualification leading to specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician must integrate approximately 225 hours of learning and experience in practice.
d. The provider of the approved qualification must, in the design, delivery and assessment of an approved qualification, involve and be informed by feedback from a range of stakeholders including patients, employers, trainees, supervisors, members of the eye-care team and other healthcare professionals.
e. An outcomes-based approach is used to specify knowledge, skills and behaviours using an established competence and assessment hierarchy known as ‘Miller’s Pyramid of Clinical Competence’ (knows; knows how; shows how; and does).
f. Providers of approved qualifications are responsible for the measurement (assessment) of students’ achievement of the outcomes at the required level (on Miller’s Pyramid) leading to an award of an approved qualification.
g. Providers of approved qualifications will be responsible for recruiting and selecting trainees onto a programme leading to an award of an approved qualification. Recognition of prior learning can be deployed to assist the progression of trainees whose progress to specialist registration has stalled.
What do I need to do?
If you are a member of the public, a patient or service-user, you may only be interested in reading our proposed outcomes for approved qualifications and answering questions 1, 2 and 3 in section 1 (which should take about five minutes to complete in addition to reading the document) along with questions in section 2 (which we are asking everyone to answer) about the impact of our proposals. However, you may well be interested in reading our proposals in full and answering all the questions we’ve asked in section 1.
If you are a GOC registrant, or an employer of GOC registrants, or you are responding on behalf of a provider of a GOC-approved qualification, a professional membership or third sector body, or another organisation or regulator, you may be interested in reading our proposals in full and answering some or all of the questions in section 1 (which should take about 15-20 minutes to complete in addition to reading the documents.)
Towards the end there are some questions for everyone to answer about the impact of our proposals (section 2, which will take about five minutes to complete).
We recognise our proposals are detailed, with a range of impacts on different stakeholder groups, so if you wish to answer all the questions in both sections of the questionnaire, please do so.
Consultation data will be securely shared with our research partner for this work, Enventure Research, for independent analysis and reporting. We will be receiving data on a regular basis and will adjust our approach to engagement with the sector as guided by Enventure Research.
What happens next
The responses to this public consultation will be independently analysed and a report prepared for the GOC which will be published thereafter. The GOC will carefully consider the results of this consultation before publishing its own response.