A consultation has been launched by the General Optical Council (GOC) on draft guidance that aims to support registrants when speaking up about patient and public safety concerns.

It is seeking feedback on the clarity and impact of the guidance, as well as identifying any areas that it has missed.

The GOC said the guidance was developed after recent healthcare inquiries into issues where staff’s concerns were not appropriately actioned.

It has been drafted in line with the GOC’s duty of candour guidance, which outlines the need for registrants to be open and honest when things go wrong.

The regulator added that it should be read alongside the Standards for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, Standards for Students and Standards for Optical Businesses.

Marcus Dye, acting director of strategy at the GOC, said: ‘Within our standards, registrants have a duty to speak up about concerns they have when patients and the public might be at risk. We know this can be a difficult thing for individuals to do, and even more so if businesses are unaware of their responsibility to make the process simple and to act on concerns raised.

‘We’ve split the guidance into two parts, one for individuals and one for businesses, to be as clear as possible on our expectations. Whether you’re an individual or a business, we encourage all registrants to read both parts.

‘As always, we expect registrants to use their professional judgement when applying the guidance. However, we hope that this new guidance will give them the confidence to speak up when they need to in order to protect the public.’

The consultation closes on 10 March, 2021 and responses can be made on the GOC’s website.