GOC consults on draft guidance: disclosing confidential information

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has today launched a consultation on new draft guidance on disclosing confidential information about patients.

The guidance will help GOC registrants to decide when they might need to override patient confidentiality in the public interest, for example by telling the DVLA (and potentially others) if a patient is not fit to drive due to inadequate eyesight.

Marcus Dye, GOC Head of Standards and CET, said:

"Our standards make clear that practitioners should promptly raise concerns about their patients if in their professional judgement patient or public safety might be at risk.

"Some registrants have requested additional guidance on how to apply this and in particular how to consider this alongside the professional requirement of maintaining confidentiality. This guidance will provide more clarity about our expectations and will help registrants in their decision-making. Registrants will still need to use their professional judgement but we hope the guidance will be a useful tool to help them make better decisions.

"It is important to remember too that the guidance is only in draft form. I encourage registrants, patients and other stakeholders to let us know their thoughts during the consultation period so we can consider any changes that may be appropriate before we publish a final version."

The consultation will be open for three months and closes on 13 June 2019. You can read and respond to it on the GOC Consultation Hub.


Notes to editors:

  1. Read the GOC’s Standards of Practice
  2. The GOC’s Standards set out its expectations of registrants. In some circumstances the GOC will produce additional guidance in support of its standards.
    For further information please contact:

Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7307 3478 – option 3

e: communications@optical.org

About the General Optical Council

The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers over 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.