With the recent close of the General Optical Council’s call for evidence on reform of the Opticians Act, this week’s special ‘Game Changers’ issue of Optician couldn’t have landed at a much better time.
Research on some of the biggest changes to the profession in recent decades has underlined the scale and frequency of the progress that has been made but it makes legislative changes look positively glacial. No, that’s not right. More like a continental drift.
Now that stakeholders and (some) registrants have had their say, maintaining momentum will be key. The General Optical Council has already said it will be several years before any reforms can be made and even then, it’s up to Parliament to enact change. You’ll excuse me if I don’t show a lot of faith in the country’s current parliamentarians, although it might be a different set by then.
We’re entering a phase when flux and change within the sector are going to be prevalent and there’s likely to be as much change in the next 10 years as there has been in the past 30. It’s therefore imperative that the GOC takes a more proactive role in monitoring changes within the profession and implementing the changes that fulfil the regulator’s remit of protecting the public. For example, should it really be that current laws permit overseas, unregistered optometrists to perform sight tests and refractions which are then later signed off by a UK registered practitioner?
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