Simon Jones: Indecent disclosure

Simon Jones
Many in the sector are left scratching their heads, wondering if different types of registrants are held to the same standards

The General Optical Council doesn’t like to make life easy for itself. In recent years, and in particular, during the pandemic, some quarters of the profession accused the regulator of lacking transparency when it came to Covid measures and allowing corporates to have an influence on decisions that impacted registrant and public safety.

The directors of Specsavers joint venture partner, Northants VisionPlus, had been scheduled to appear before a fitness to practise committee on February 20. The directors of the business were alleged to have seen walk-in patients in the latter stages of lockdown, which the GOC said amounted to misconduct or deficient professional performance. But the case will no longer be heard.

Instead, it was referred to case examiners for reconsideration, and they subsequently decided the likelihood of finding impaired practise was ‘no longer realistic’. I’m probably not alone in thinking that the case examiners would surely have decided the first time that the evidence threshold for a decision on impairment could be met. So, what changed?

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