A consultation has been launched by the General Optical Council on revised standards of practice for optometrists and dispensing opticians, optical students, and optical businesses.

Changes were proposed to improve public protection in relation to the care of patients in vulnerable circumstances, the use of technology and artificial intelligence.

Steve Brooker, GOC director of regulatory strategy, said: ‘Today’s launch marks a significant milestone in the Standards Review, following twelve months of extensive stakeholder engagement. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed so far to help us shape the proposed new standards.

‘The current standards have served the sector well and will mostly remain unchanged. However, we are proposing important revisions to bring the standards up to date with developments in technology, strengthen protection for patients in vulnerable circumstances and address negative behaviours in the workplace.

‘It’s extremely important for us to hear from as many stakeholders as possible to ensure that the proposed changes are clear, proportionate, and reflect the current context in which registrants practise, students are trained, and businesses operate. The feedback we receive will be analysed and used to inform the final revisions to the standards.’

Other areas included in the consultation were: leadership and professionalism; effective communication; supervision and delegation; equality, diversity and inclusion; social media, online conduct and consent; maintaining appropriate professional boundaries; and registrant health.

The consultation can be accessed via the GOC’s consultation hub and will close on May 8.

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