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GOC shares findings from therapeutic prescribing literature review

GOC shares findings from therapeutic prescribing literature review

The General Optical Council (GOC) has published findings from its literature review on optometrist therapeutic prescribing (OTP), which aims to identify any barriers or facilitators to non-medical prescribing that impact the profession.

A range of barriers and facilitators were found, including the extent of organisational readiness, leadership, preparation of the infrastructure to support non-medical prescribing (such as access to a prescription pad and prescribing budget), practitioner readiness, continued support and professional development.

In addition, other challenges to OTP were identified, such as limited practitioner skills and motivation, access to clinical practice training, limited organisational support and a lack of external/local policies to facilitate prescribing.

Optometrists in the UK can undertake training that entitles them to prescribe a range of medicines for patients with eye conditions. This training, and registration as an optometrist therapeutic or independent prescriber, is overseen by the GOC.

The research was led by the University of Surrey and included a total of 13 systematic reviews, 11 articles (8 empirical and 3 reviews), and 8 conversations held with key stakeholders involved in OTP across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

GOC Director of Education, Leonie Milliner, said: “We’d like to thank the University of Surrey for undertaking this review and everyone who has contributed. This review has helped inform and shape our proposals for updated education and training requirements for GOC-approved qualifications for specialist entry to the GOC register in Additional Supply (AS), Supplementary Prescribing (SP) and/or Independent Prescribing (IP)categories which we will consult on in July, alongside similar requirements for contact lens opticians.


In particular, we have considered the need for the integration of theoretical and clinical competencies within approved AS, SP and IP qualifications, removing the current two-year registration requirement prior to undertaking a clinical placement and aligning supervision requirements with other non-medical prescribers, so that suitably experienced optometrists can supervise trainees. This approach would allow optometrists to study prescribing concurrently with a GOC-approved pre-registration qualification in optometry.”

Dr Nicola Carey and Karen Stenner from the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey said: “This review highlights opportunities to improve the sustainability of optometrist prescribing in order to facilitate novel and innovative service delivery. The recommendations of this review are timely given the role of non-medical prescribing in improving service capacity to meet increasing demand for medication.”

The full report is available on the GOC website.