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DHSC Consultation outcome welcomed by GOC

GOC welcomes DHSC consultation outcome on reforming legislation

The General Optical Council (GOC) welcomes this week’s  publications from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), which represent an important step in reforming the legislation which underpins the UK’s health and care regulators.

In particular, the GOC welcomes the consultation on new draft legislation which would allow the General Medical Council (GMC) to regulate anaesthesia associates and physician associates. The draft s60 order will act as a template for the future regulation of other healthcare professionals, including dispensing opticians and optometrists.

This is an important opportunity to modernise the way the GOC carries out its regulatory functions. The current legislation has not been updated for over 30 years. These reforms, when enacted, will give the GOC greater autonomy in discharging its regulatory responsibilities to the benefit of patients and the public, and in doing so, uphold the reputation of the professions it regulates.

Although optical regulation is not in the first wave of proposed reforms, the GOC is preparing for the proposed changes by reviewing its own legislation and reflecting on responses received to its 2022 Call for Evidence, so it is best placed to move forwards quickly once the DHSC announce a clear timeframe.

Chief Executive and Registrar, Leonie Milliner, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to reform the regulatory landscape across health and social care.

The proposed reforms will enable us to create a more modern and flexible system of regulation which will better protect the public and support GOC registrants. As a result of these proposed reforms, we will be able to respond to challenges more quickly and in doing so provide better support to patients, the public, and the optical sector.

Last year we asked registrants, sector bodies, the third sector, employers, patients about the impact of the Opticians Act and associated policies on patient safety, and evidence for the need for change. We’ll use the evidence received to develop our response to DHSC’s consultation and would encourage stakeholders to take part and share their views too.”

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