Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information
Last updated: 22 July 2021
Here you will find the latest updates and links to Government and GOC guidance related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions to the public and registrants is available on our COVID-19 FAQ page.
Below are links to UK-wide guidance on COVID-19 and guidance from devolved governments and others in each of the nations of the UK.
- NHS England and Improvement guidance on face coverings and social distancing after 19th July 2021
- New national lockdown rules from 5 January
- Latest guidance from Prime Minister on COVID-19 safety measures
- Guidance for healthcare professionals, the public and employers businesses on the UK’s approach to COVID-19
- Guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement for primary care practitioners in optical settings
- NHS England preparedness letter giving updates and guidance for optical settings
- Public Health England updated guidance on COVID-19 infection prevention and control
- NHS England guidance on deploying the clinical and non-clinical optical workforce to support the NHS clinical delivery plan for COVID-19
- NHS England - join the NHS COVID-19 vaccine team
- New national lockdown rules from 5 January
- Information and resources from the Scottish Government for all optometry practices and staff
- Suspension of all routine community eye care services; Financial measures to support community optometry practices; Other important COVID-19 updates
- Guidance for primary care from Health Protection Scotland
- Guidance for secondary care from Health Protection Scotland
- Information on 'First Port of Call' responsiblity during the festive period and financial support arrangements
- Information on community optometry - COVID-19 vaccine and PPE
- Guidance on new rules from 17th July 2021
- Latest information on COVID-19 from Public Health Wales
- Latest information on COVID-19 'firebreak lockdown' from Welsh Government
- Updated COVID-19 guidance for optometry practices - 16 July 2021
- Infection prevention and control guidance for maintaining services in health and care settings
- Temporary primary care contract changes from the Welsh Government
- Further information on optometry practice services from the Welsh Government
In these extraordinary times, we are fortunate that in all four countries of the United Kingdom we have a group of well qualified eye care professionals that can be relied on by the general public and fellow healthcare professionals. This means that our registrants may have to vary their practice for extended periods of time and in challenging circumstances. While registrants are encouraged to work up to the limits of their competence, refresher training and/or supervision may be needed.
Our Standards for Optical Businesses include the following standards to ensure that patient safety is always prioritised:
- Standard 1.1 Patients can expect to be safe in your care
- Standard 1.2 Patient care is delivered in a suitable environment
- Standard 3.1 Your staff are able to exercise their professional judgement
Corresponding standards are also present in the Standards for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians and the Standards for Optical Students.
We realise that some of our own legislation and regulations may prevent care being delivered effectively during the emergency situation. To address this we’ve published statements to remove any unnecessary regulatory barriers and to reassure our registrants and the sector that we will support them when they act in good conscience and exercise professional judgement for the public benefit.
We carried out a public consultation on our COVID-19 statements between October 2020 and January 2021. The consultation analysis is published in the list below. On 28 May 2021 we updated some of our statements and published our response to the consultation – these documents are all provided below. Previous versions of the statements are available in our archive.
COVID-19 statements consultation
- COVID-19 Statements Consultation Report - published 23 March 2021
- GOC response to COVID-19 statements consultation - published 28 May 2021
Joint regulatory statements
- Joint regulatory statement on COVID-19
- Joint regulatory statement on remote consultations and prescribing
GOC statements covering internal regulatory processes and provision of CET
- Statement on education during the COVID-19 emergency
- Statement on fitness to practice approach to service documents and hearings during the COVID-19 emergency
- Statement on Continuing Education and Training (CET) providers for CET provision during the COVID-19 emergency
- Statement on service of registration notices during COVID-19 emergency
GOC statements covering explanation of legislation/expectations
- Statement on contact lens aftercare during the COVID-19 emergency
- Statement on registrants working in different settings during the COVID-19 emergency (includes statement on redeployment of optometrists and dispensing opticians within pharmacy practice during COVID-19 emergency)
- Statement on infection prevention and control during the COVID-19 emergency
- Statement on use of technology during the COVID-19 emergency
GOC statements covering legislative easements
- Statement on supply of spectacles and contact lenses during the COVID-19 emergency
- Statement on verification of contact lens specifications during the COVID-19 emergency
Previous GOC statements that no longer apply
- Statement on CET during the COVID-19 emergency
- Revised statement on the re-opening of optical practices during the COVID-19 emergency (24 June)
- Statement on the re-opening of optical practices during the COVID-19 emergency (12 June)
We have completed an assessment on the risk of contracting COVID-19 associated with working in or visiting our office. The assessment will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
If you are a registrant, please contact your professional association for further advice: