GOC launches consultation on new requirements for Contact Lens Opticians
The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched a consultation on proposals to update its requirements that underpin the approval of qualifications for specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician.
The consultation seeks views on three proposed documents:
- 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, to gain specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician.
- 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.
- 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.
The three proposed documents will replace ‘Visit Handbook Guidelines for the approval of ‘Training Institutions’ and ‘Providers for Schemes for Registration for United Kingdom Contact Lens Opticians’ (published November 2007), as well as the ‘Contact Lens Speciality Core Competencies’ published in 2011. This includes the list of required core competences, the numerical requirements for trainees’ practical experiences, education policies and guidance contained within the handbooks, and policies on supervision and recognition of prior learning, which are published separately.
The key proposals include:
- Candidates will acquire a qualification approved by the GOC leading to specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician.
- The approved qualification will either be an academic award or a regulated qualification at a minimum of Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) (or equivalent) level 6.
- There will not be a proposed minimum/maximum or recommended time or credit volume for an approved qualification, 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
GOC Director of Education, Leonie Milliner, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to shaping these important proposals, to update our requirements for qualifications we approve, leading to specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician. We value all of the feedback we receive, to ensure our requirements are fit for purpose and reflect the changing landscape of the optical sector, and we will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to listen to concerns and understand the impact of our proposals.”
The consultation is hosted on the GOC Consultation Hub and will close on 13 December 2021.