Standards for optical businesses

1.1 Patients can expect to be safe in your care

Why is this Standard necessary?

Promoting patient safety is at the heart of all healthcare. A patient should be able to trust their healthcare provider to prioritise their safety so that they can receive the best possible care.

An important aspect of this is that optical businesses must not inhibit the healthcare professionals they employ or contract with from meeting their own professional standards.

To achieve this, your business:

  1. Understands its legal and professional responsibilities to safeguard patients from abuse and ensures that it and its staff are prepared and supported to do so;
  2. Has a process for staff to report any safeguarding concerns and encourages them to do so;
  3. Promptly addresses concerns about colleagues, businesses or other organisations if patient or public safety might be at risk. These concerns may be identified by you or your staff;
  4. Escalates or reports concerns affecting patient or public safety, where they cannot be addressed by your business, to an appropriate authority and encourages others to do the same;
  5. Makes staff aware that where they have raised concerns which have not been resolved within the business, they may escalate or report these to a higher authority such as a professional regulator (whistleblow) and certain aspects of this are protected by law;
  6. Ensures that when introducing technological interventions, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, they do not compromise patient care, and that professional standards continue to be met;
  7. Considers whether criminal record checks are necessary for its staff members depending on their particular roles and/or exposure to patients, particularly children and vulnerable adults. The process for undertaking such checks varies across the four nations of the UK;
  8. Is prepared to restrict trading in areas of concern if continuing to do so would adversely affect patient care;
  9. Takes appropriate steps to protect patients, the public and your employees if there is evidence to show that a staff member may not be fit to practise or work. This also applies to students who may not be fit to train;
  10. Ensures that any operational or commercial targets do not have an adverse effect on patient care.