Regrettably Omen, in his article of 27.04.12, has done little to alter the lack of substance about which I complained in my letter in Optician 16.03.12. Repeatedly he has failed to identify his perceived problem with CET, does not clarify what he means by CET being ‘meaningful’ to both the profession and the public’, and the ‘scheme’… ‘not going far enough’, and also fails to outline the ‘radical reform’ that he is apparently demanding. In your 26.03.10 issue you published a letter from me, in response to Omen’s article (26.02.10), in which I sought such clarification:‘If Omen sees serious flaws in the present CET system, it would be far more productive if he addressed the “why” of CET, enumerate the flaws in the present system, in light of the perceived risks presented by these flaws, and thereafter suggest the remedies to address same.’Omen, among others, has failed to address these questions; this is not good enough.From very simple objectives in 1989; ie ‘to regularly update and refresh professional skills’ a veritable, self-perpetuating industry has grown up around CET, turning a ‘means’ into an ‘end’; this reflects a fundamental flaw in the whole process.Mandatory CET must:● Be a rigorous systematic response to a proven need● Have a reference baseline level of knowledge, skill, and experience, which is, in this case, the level at which a newly qualified person is permitted to legally practise as an optometrist● Establish at what time-lapse after qualification there has been sufficient change or development within the ambit of professional function that may cause a practitioner’s competence to be questioned, and from there, the level and type of retraining deemed necessary.Any system that does not satisfy the above criteria is open to the accusation of being both unwarranted and unjust. As the General Optical Council is ultimately responsible for mandatory CET it should be incumbent upon it to ensure that its CET satisfies such criteria as follows: ● Carry out an audit to identify new developments in the field of optometry and its related disciplines during the previous cycle, ● Assess the current knowledge and skill level at which students are deemed competent to qualify as optometrists, ● Outline a programme of pertinent revision and thereby develop a syllabus for the subsequent cycle of CET based primarily on these determinations.Anything other than such an systematic approach to protect the public from the perceived dangers posed to it by optometrists, encourages the nebulous thinking of some, fuels the grandiose aspirations of others, and provides the opportunity for vocal, well placed, vested interests to pursue questionable objectives.
Arthur F GillWestport, Galway