Standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians

11 . Protect and safeguard patients, colleagues and others from harm

  1. You must be aware of and comply with your legal obligations in relation to safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
  2. Protect and safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults from abuse. You must:
    1. Be alert to signs of abuse and denial of rights.
    2. Consider the needs and welfare of your patients.
    3. Report concerns to an appropriate person or organisation.
    4. Act quickly in order to prevent further risk of harm.
    5. Keep adequate notes on what has happened and what actions you took.
  3. Promptly raise concerns about your patients, colleagues, employer or other organisation if patient or public safety might be at risk and encourage others to do the same. Concerns should be raised with your employing, contracting, professional or regulatory organisation as appropriate. This is sometimes referred to as ‘whistle-blowing’ and certain aspects of this are protected by law.
  4. If you have concerns about your own fitness to practise whether due to issues with health, character, behaviour, judgement or any other matter that may damage the reputation of your profession, stop practising immediately and seek advice.
  5. If patients are at risk because of inadequate premises, equipment, resources, employment policies or systems, put the matter right if that is possible and/or raise a concern.
  6. Ensure that any contracts or agreements that you enter into do not restrict you from raising concerns about patient safety including restricting what you are able to say when raising the concern.
  7. Ensure that when reporting concerns, you take account of your obligations to maintain confidentiality as outlined in standard 14.

    Your obligations to maintain confidentiality are outlined in standard 14 - Maintain confidentiality and respect your patients’ privacy