GOC launches consultation on Continuing Education and Training scheme

The General Optical Council (GOC) has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce changes to its Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme.

The public consultation seeks views on how to make the scheme more flexible and less prescriptive, allowing optometrists and dispensing opticians greater freedom to undertake learning and development which is relevant to their own personal scope of practice.

The proposals are based on feedback from the GOC's 2018 public consultation: ‘Fit for the Future: A lifelong learning review’, and engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders including patients, the public, registrants, professional bodies within the optical sector and other stakeholders.

Findings and discussions showed that there was strong appetite for change in five key areas which the new consultation will address:

  • Replacing the current competencies of the scheme so that they are more flexible to help encourage and facilitate learning and development throughout a registrant’s professional life.
  • Allowing optometrists and dispensing opticians more control over their learning and development and the ability to tailor it.
  • Enhancing requirements for optometrists and dispensing opticians to reflect on their practice as a mechanism for embedding good practice and improving patient care.
  • Changing the name of the scheme from CET to Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
  • Introducing a new proportionate system of CPD approvals for efficiency.

Leonie Milliner, GOC Director of Education said:

"We’ve listened to the views of our stakeholders and have taken this feedback into consideration when drafting our proposals. Our current scheme was introduced in 2013 and the type of work that optometrists and dispensing opticians carry out has expanded and diversified since then.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of having a highly skilled and flexible work force, which is able to work effectively as part of multi-disciplinary teams across the healthcare sector.

We must therefore ensure that our scheme is agile and able to support an optical workforce which is likely to see many more changes in the coming years."

The consultation will take place from 28 May to 20 August. Feedback will then be considered, with a view to implement the changes at the beginning of the next CET cycle in January 2022.

You can take part in the consultation through the GOC's online consultation hub.