GOC launches public consultation on COVID-19 statements

The General Optical Council (GOC) has launched a consultation seeking views on how it can continue to support its registrants and the optical sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as different parts of the UK experience local and potentially national restrictions now and in the future.

In particular, the consultation is asking for feedback on:

  • A proposed framework, for when the GOC’s existing COVID-19 statements should apply moving forward, linked to The College of Optometrists’ red-amber-green system;
  • The content and impact of the GOC’s existing COVID-19 statements; and
  • Whether there are further areas of GOC regulations, legislation or guidance that need to change or be put in place to ensure more effective regulation in the future, either during a pandemic or as a result of the pandemic.

To support registrants and the sector during the pandemic, the GOC has published a series of statements which remove unnecessary regulatory barriers, clarify certain areas of practice and reinforce existing guidance in our Standards for optometrists, dispensing opticians, students and businesses. In addition, some of the statements outline amendments to GOC regulatory functions, such as fitness to practise and education.

Marcus Dye, GOC Acting Director of Strategy, said:

"We knew early on that some of our legislation and regulations may prevent registrants from being able to deliver care effectively during a pandemic, particularly remote care delivery.

We moved as quickly as we could to implement our COVID-19 statements, which meant that we were only able to consult with a small number of key stakeholders in the optical and healthcare sectors.

Therefore, we are consulting more widely now as it’s extremely important to us that we seek feedback from our registrants, patients and the public to ensure that our statements remain effective and we can consider how they should apply in different phases of the current or any future pandemic."

The current statements will remain in place pending the outcome of this consultation. The review dates have been extended to 31 January 2021, apart from the CET provision statement which has been extended to 31 December 2021.

To respond to the consultation, visit the GOC Consultation Hub. The consultation will close on 7 January 2021.

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