The General Optical Council’s (GOC) latest Registrant Workforce and Perceptions Survey revealed that more than half of eye care professionals worked beyond their hours in the last 12 months.

The survey found that 57% of respondents reported working beyond their contracted hours, which is a 17% rise compared to 2021 data.

Meanwhile, 41% reported feeling unable to cope with their workload, including those who worked for a multiple, in a hospital and in education, 31% reported finding it difficult to provide patients with the sufficient level of care they need, and 9% took a leave of absence due to stress.

Despite this, almost two thirds (62%) of respondents said that they were satisfied in their role, up from 58% in 2021, and 21% were dissatisfied, with unhappiness higher amongst optometrists, locums, those employed by multiples, and those who lived in London.

Steve Brooker, director of regulatory strategy at the GOC, said: ‘The GOC’s registrant survey provides a unique snapshot of the views and perceptions of the optical workforce. We’ve added new questions this year in partnership with sector bodies and hope the findings will assist workforce planning efforts.

‘While it is encouraging to see job satisfaction improving since last year, clearly there remain challenges for the sector to tackle, with significant minorities of respondents finding it difficult to cope with workloads and provide patients with a sufficient level of care.’