GOC News - 14 November 2018
Continuing Education and Training
Council decided that the next Continuing Education and Training (CET) cycle will be a standard three year cycle, running from 2019-21, before the GOC makes significant changes to the scheme from 2022.
The GOC had initially planned to make 2019 a one year transition period before fully revising the scheme from 2020. However, the input to its recent CET consultation – presented at the meeting by independent research agency Enventure – and other feedback showed that stakeholders, in particular CET providers, were concerned that they would not be able to meet the requirements of a revised system by January 2020.
Dr Subo Shanmuganathan, GOC Interim Director of Education, said: “There is a widespread recognition in the sector that CET needs to change to meet the challenges of the future and we want that to happen quickly.
“But our recent discussions with key stakeholders suggest that January 2020 – which would have come only a matter of months after a consultation next year – would have been too soon for providers and registrants to adequately prepare. Change is important but the consultation does not suggest that the need for change is so urgent that we should rush change through before providers are ready.
“So instead, the next CET cycle will be another three year cycle with the same requirements we have at the moment. This will give us the time to make long-term changes in a considered, evidence-based way that allows providers to make the necessary preparation for January 2022 and registrants to prepare themselves for a scheme that will have a greater emphasis on reflective learning.”
The GOC will now consult next year on changes to CET, which will come into effect for the 2022-24 cycle.
Meanwhile, the GOC is changing the MyCET online system so that it will be more user-friendly from January 2019. The system will work similarly to now but the GOC has used feedback from registrants, providers and approvers to improve the interface of the system, particularly on portable devices.
This work will be delivered by the current MyCET provider, Synaptiq Ltd trading as Perceptive, after the GOC tendered for the contract in April 2018 in accordance with EU procurement legislation.
Council discussed the feedback received from the GOC’s recent consultation on new draft Standards for Optical Businesses, which was presented to them by Pye Tait Consulting, the independent agency commissioned to undertake the research and analysis.
Overall, the draft Standards were positively received by respondents, with 79 per cent of respondents agreeing that the GOC’s expectations of optical businesses are clear, and 88 per cent agreeing the Standards are clear and easy to understand for registrants.
Most individual registrants, businesses and professional associations were broadly supportive, with a frequent comment being that they reflect ‘what businesses do anyway’.
The GOC is following up directly with some stakeholders to better understand and address issues they have raised covering areas such as wording and impacts.
The final version of the business standards and an accompanying implementation plan will be presented to Council in February 2019 for approval. The implementation plan will include a campaign to raise awareness within the optical sector, training for GOC staff and Fitness to Practise committees, publication of digital tools for registrants to help them in understanding and implementing the standards, and the potential commissioning of Standards-specific CET.
Provided that the new Standards for Optical Businesses are approved in February 2019, they will be published in April 2019 and will then come into effect in July 2019.
The consultation ran from 14 June 2018 until 30 August 2018 through the GOC’s new platform called the GOC Consultation Hub. There were 351 responses submitted through the consultation hub, and seven offline responses.
Council approved a £350 registration fee for fully qualified registrants and body corporates for the 2019/20 year. This is a £10 (2.9 per cent) increase from the previous year, which is broadly in line with current inflation.
The fee increase is part of a three year budget strategy to moderately increase registration fees each year to ensure that the GOC has the sufficient funds necessary to carry out its statutory public protection duties.
The GOC’s registration fees rules are available on its website: https://www.optical.org/en/Registration/registration-fees.cfm.
Changes to prescribing over the counter medicines
Wiltshire CCG is supporting new guidance published by NHS England on 29 March, which covers 35 minor, short-term health conditions which are either self-limiting or suitable for self-care. This includes Dry Eye and Conjunctivitis.
The guidance follows a period of national public consultation and recommends that:
The list of condition that this affects can be found on the following website :
Supporting materials can be found here:
MHRA Drug Alert
Latanoprost / Timolol 50 micrograms/mL + 5mg/mL Eye Drops
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FREEZES GOS FEES FOR THIRD YEAR RUNNING
Delayed GOS Payments May 2018
PCSE have informed LOCSU and the Optical Confederation that there has been a delay in processing some GOS payments this month. Contractors and LOCs in the affected areas should receive an email from the PCSE National Engagement Team informing them of the delay and explaining that PCSE are aiming to ensure payments reach bank accounts within five working days of the usual payment dates. As soon as PCSE have processed payments for an affected area, contractors will receive a further email to confirm when the funds will be in the bank.
LOCSU and the Optical Confederation have raised severe concerns with NHS England about PCSE’s failure to make payments on time again and are awaiting a full explanation of the cause of the issues. The organisations had been assured in recent meetings with PCSE’s Managing Director and NHS England’s senior managers that lessons had been learnt from the March payment delays and that PCSE had put additional staff in place to ensure payments were made on time. Clearly the steps taken have not been sufficient to ensure on-time payments this month, so the sector needs urgent assurance that further appropriate action is being taken by PCSE to guarantee future payments are made on time.
Contractors with queries over GOS payments received should contact firstname.lastname@example.org and put “GOS payment query – [practice name]” in the email subject header.
GDPR - Data Protection Law changes on 25th May 2018
There are changes on data protection law that are coming soon please see the advice from the AOP via this link, or read the guidence below from the Optical Confederation
Wiltshire LOC Chair Update
It has been my intention to write to all of you for quite some time. My apologies for being too busy. I would like to bring you all up to date with the following things.
NB: we need to be vigilant as these are patients often do not read the letters they receive and do not respond to appointments made. I am going to forward the Protocols in place after we know what the community service will look like. ( THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PATIENCE)
Ophthalmology Triage and Referral Management
The talk given by Ashley Windebank-Brooks, Commissioning Manager for Wiltshiire NHS, explaining the current Traiaging system for Optometry referrals in Wiltshire, is attached below.
How to claim your CET grant in 2017 – Important Update
Please remember PCSE can only process claims for CET allowance payments if they come from a contractor. Please note CET claims submitted by email to PCSE must come
from the email address that the contractor has registered with PCSE to access to portal to order supplies of GOS forms.
If you have not yet submitted your CET claim please ensure the email is sent from the address the contractor has registered with PCSE.
If you have already submitted your CET claim please do not send a duplicate. PCSE are currently processing the claims they have received and will contact you direct
if there are any issues with your claim.
Reminder of the process to claim your CET grant
Claims for CET undertaken by ophthalmic practitioners between 1 January to 31 December 2016 must be submitted between 1 July 2017 and 31 October 2017 to PCSE at
As a reminder, CET allowance payments are payable to contractors. A payment can be claimed by a contractor in respect of either:
a) CET he/she has undertaken personally in the year between 1 January to 31 December 2016
b) CET undertaken in the year between 1 January to 31 December 2016 by an ophthalmic practitioner on the Ophthalmic Performers List. The CET allowance for 2016 is £545
Please follow the steps below to submit a claim:
1. Complete the form which can be found via this link or on the Department of Health Website
2. Sign and date the form in the appropriate place(s)
3. Scan the signed form and attach to an email
4. Put ‘2017 CET claim’ in the email subject header
5. Email to PCSE.Optical@nhs.net. You must use the email address the contractor has registered with PCSE to access the supplies portal
You will receive a case reference number from PCSE once they have received your claim form. Please note you are asked to submit only one claim form per email so that you each form has a unique case reference that can be tracked. The preferred route for submitting CET claims is by email to PCSE.Optical@nhs.net but if you prefer to submit by post you must send to:
Primary Care Support England
PO Box 350
12 January 2017
College of Optometrists
10th January 2017
GOC renewal 2017
22 December 2016
Renewal of GOC registration
It is almost time to complete your renewal of your GOC registration for 2017-18. To do this, please log in to the MyGOC section of our website and press the ‘Apply for Retention’ button. You will be able to complete your application from Monday 16 January 2017 onwards. Please ensure that you complete the online process carefully before the deadline of Wednesday 15 March 2017.
Please note that you need to complete your application for renewal on a desktop or laptop computer. You cannot use a phone or tablet to complete the process. We recommend you use Google Chrome as your internet browser when completing the application form as you may experience difficulties with other browsers.
If you have forgotten your MyGOC username and password, please access the login page of MyGOC and click on the “reset password” link on that page, it will take you to a new page which will allow you to reset your password.
Your retention fee
The prompt payment fee for retention this year will be £330.00. Fees relating to registration were agreed at the most recent Council meeting. More information about the Council meeting can be found on our website here.
If you do not complete your retention application by Wednesday 15 March 2017, you will have to pay the standard fee of £350. If you still do not complete the renewal process by completing your retention application and paying the fee by Friday 31 March 2017 you will be removed from the register. You will then be unable to practise in the UK or use a protected title such as optician, and if you are currently on it, you will also be removed from the NHS National Performer’s List.
17 November 2016
|Message on behalf of the AOP|
"We have been made aware that people are calling AOP members ‘on behalf of the AOP’ saying that they need to register on the new website and trying to obtain personal contact information over the phone.
"Members should be aware that these individuals are not employed or appointed by AOP to make these calls and they should not give any personal information over the phone.
"If members have passed on any data or are concerned about this matter, please call our membership team on 020 7549 2010."
Further details are available on the AOP website at https://www.aop.org.uk/about-aop/aop-news/2016/11/17/potential-fraud-alert
We have not, at time of writing, heard of any similar calls purporting to be from the GOC. However if you receive a suspicious call claiming to be from the GOC, please let us know as soon as possible by calling 020 7580 3898.
With best wishes
GOC Communications team
10 November 2016
Member media alert
Last night’s episode of Watchdog on BBC featured an item on the sale of blue lens filters to block blue light. It showed optical staff in high street practices citing claims on the protective factors of certain lenses for blue light to customers.
The investigation was also covered in the Daily Mail yesterday which you can read here.
While the programme focused on dispensing opticians, you may be asked questions by customers about the programme, the efficacy of blue lens filters and the dangers of blue light.
What can you explain to customers about this issue?
What is blue light?
Visible light ranges from blue, with the shortest wavelength, to red, with the longest wavelength. Blue light is produced naturally by the sun and artificially by electronic light sources.
Is it damaging to the eye?
There is no reliable evidence to say that using devices emitting blue light causes any permanent damage to eyes or eyesight. However, it may make users with pre-existing vision defects more aware of them. Blue light sources encountered indoors are unlikely to approach unsafe exposure limits, even for extended viewing times, and the eye possesses natural defences to mitigate blue light damage.
Are the eyes of children and older people any more susceptible to blue light?
When we are born, the crystalline lens inside our eye, which we use to focus from seeing far away to seeing close up, is clear. As we get older, it naturally yellows and absorbs short wavelength (blue) light, protecting the retina. In addition to this, children’s pupils are larger than the pupils of older people, so that more light (of all wavelengths) reaches the retina of a younger person than that of an older one. The combination of both of these factors means that more blue light will reach the retina of a child than that of an older person.
Does the crystalline lens transmit more blue spectrum light in the young?
Yes. As the crystalline lens of a young person is clear, and the crystalline lens of an older person is naturally yellow, the lens of a young person transmits more blue light to the retina than the lens of an older person.
Can blue lens filters help?
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of blue lens filters to block blue light or that they can prevent long-term damage to the retina.
What can regular screen users do to protect themselves?
We recommend that patients take frequent breaks from looking at a screen by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20ft away (6m) for 20 seconds to give the eye muscles a break. It’s also recommended to remind patients to take a full blink, as often people don’t blink properly in front of a screen and this can tire the eyes.
What else can you see or read on blue light?
You may have seen the debate on blue light at Optometry Tomorrow 2016, presented by Thierry Vilette and Professor John Lawrenson FCOptom. If not, or if you would like to refresh, you can watch it as an online lecture on the website. C-52823 Blue Light (1 CET point available)
Also, remember that you can always call (020 7766 4372) or email us with your questions or concerns. If you have any clinical or professional concerns, our advisers are here to support you.