The General Optical Council (GOC) welcomes the publication of the Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) annual performance review for 2020/21. The GOC has met 17 of the 18 PSA Standards of Good Regulation, which describe the outcomes regulators are expected to achieve in key areas of their work.
The review, which assessed performance between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021, was satisfied that the GOC met all but one of the Standards of Good Regulation. This means that the GOC met all of the PSA Standards under the headings of General Standards, Guidance and Standards, Registration, and Education and Training.
Whilst it did not satisfy Standard 15 (Fitness to Practise) due to the length of time it has taken to conclude cases, the PSA noted that the GOC has made significant progress in implementing its improvement plan, with it being the only healthcare regulator to have reduced its open caseload of older cases since the start of the pandemic.
The PSA recognised the GOC’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) through its creation of a new EDI plan and an appointed EDI Partner to provide expert support. The report also highlighted the work undertaken to update the education and training requirements for optometry and dispensing optics, which prioritise patient and service-user centred care and safety.
Leonie Milliner, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:
“We welcome the outcome of the PSA’s annual review of our performance for 2020/21 reporting year, and we are pleased to have met all but one of the Standards.
We recognise that we still need to improve the timeliness of our fitness to practise cases and we will continue to work to meet this standard. However, we have made tremendous progress in reducing the number of new fitness to practise cases being opened from almost 60% to less than 25% by filtering out more complaints that could not result in a decision of impairment. We have also made progress in closing older cases, with only 72 cases more than a year old at the end of this performance review period, compared to 117 at the same point last year.
Our fitness to practise function is one of the main ways we protect the public and we remain committed to meeting this standard and building upon the positive work we’ve completed so far to meet our strategic objectives of becoming a world-class regulator and transforming customer service.”
Read the full review on the Professional Standards Authority’s website.