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AOP members respond to Opticians Act survey

Extraordinary response to the GOC’s call for evidence sets clear mandate on the future of eye care regulation  

Thousands of registrants took part in an AOP survey and provided detailed responses to the GOC’s call for evidence on the Opticians Act          

The Association of Optometrists (AOP), who support over 82% of practising optometrists on the General Optical Council’s (GOC) register, has published its response to the regulator’s call for evidence on the Opticians Act.

Maintaining appropriate legal restrictions on sight testing remains the overriding theme.

Adam Sampson, Chief Executive for the AOP said: “We have had an outstanding level of engagement from our members who leave no doubt that the optometrist must remain in control of the clinical care throughout the sight test to protect patients.

“This is a significant proportion of the GOC’s registrants, providing a clear mandate on how the sight test should be regulated in the future, and it’s vital the regulator listens carefully.”

The AOP produced its response based on an extensive programme of engagement with members and sector stakeholders.

The submission made on 15 July draws on the findings of the AOP’s recent member survey, responses provided via it’s community forum, alongside insights gained from engagement across the UK and the AOP’s Policy committee, Council and Board.

In the AOP survey of 2,445 members, 87% indicated that refraction and the eye health check elements of the sight test are inseparable in maintaining patient safety. A further 64% indicated serious concerns around delegating elements of the sight test to other eye care professionals.

The response covers all areas of the call for evidence including additional questions around the protection of title, restricted activities, remote care and the regulation of businesses.

The call for evidence was launched in March, with the GOC inviting registrants, sector bodies, employers, patients, and the public to contribute.