Standards for optical businesses

2.1 The services you provide are open and transparent

Why is this Standard necessary?

The Mid-Staffs Hospital Public Inquiry identified a need for openness and transparency within healthcare. In order to be able to promote the public’s trust in you as a business and in the optical professions, you need to ensure that the services you provide to patients and the public are transparent; that complaints are handled fairly; and that staff are able to be candid.

To achieve this, your business:

  1. Fosters a culture of candour within the business by encouraging honesty and has a good knowledge of any contractual or statutory duties of candour that are applicable to your business, as well as the duty on your registered staff under the Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians and Standards for Optical Students;
  2. Fulfils its professional, contractual and statutory duties of candour when it is identified that things have gone wrong with a patient’s treatment or care which has resulted in them suffering harm or distress, or where there may be implications for future patient care. This includes as a basis the need to:
    1. Tell the patient or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family, that something has gone wrong;
    2. Offer an apology;
    3. Offer appropriate remedy or support to put matters right (if possible);
    4. Explain fully and promptly what has happened and the likely short-term and long-term effects;
    5. Outline what you will do, where possible, to prevent reoccurrence and improve future patient care.
  3. Ensures that staff have roles appropriately assigned, with clear lines of accountability and, where staff interact with patients and the public, they identify themselves and their role(s) clearly;
  4. Establishes a clear complaints protocol and makes patients aware of their channels of complaint. These include the business, the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS), the GOC, the NHS or ombudsman services where relevant;
  5. Provides staff (including locums) with access to complaints policies and protocols, and any other internal protocols directly impacting patients, or access to another member of staff who can advise on these;
  6. Ensures that, where a patient makes a complaint, this does not impact on their care, which might require a patient to be referred to another practitioner or practice;
  7. Co-operates with formal investigations and inquiries in relation to your business or your staff, provides relevant information to appropriate authorities when requested and does not prevent staff from co-operating when this is necessary;
  8. Provides clear information to patients about costs of products and professional services;
  9. Encourages staff to declare any conflicts of interest, where they arise, and withdraw themselves from such conflicts. The joint regulatory conflicts of interest statement sets out what is expected.