Editorial: New guideline for optometrists registered in the UK

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1*Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Eye- and Vision Center Optometrie Cagnolati GmbH

The regulatory body for the optical professions in the UK is the General Optical Council (GOC). Its role is to protect the public by promoting high standards of optical education and training, services provided and professional conduct by registered professionals. There are currently approximately 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, students and optical businesses registered with the GOC. The General Optical Council is comparable to the professional chambers of liberal professions in Germany. Starting in 2022, the GOC has reorganised the Continuing Education and Training (CET) for the optical professions and has published a new guideline for this purpose entitled "Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - a guide for registrants".1 The document is of equal interest to both registered professionals and CPD providers, which the GOC divides into "GOC approved and provisionally approved providers". At the beginning of the new three-year training cycle, the GOC-registered members of the various optical disciplines have to create an individual development plan regarding their possible and necessary training. In accordance with this, each member of the profession must then draw up his or her own continuing education plan. In principle, 36 (CPD) points are required for optometrists for the 3-year cycle in four core domains. At least one CPD point must be obtained in each of these domains. The core domains include: Professionalism, Communication, Clinical Practice as well as Leadership and accountability. CPD points are specified as follows:

  • Minimum annual number of CPD points: 6
  • Minimum of 18 interactive CPD points
  • At least 1 peer review

At the end of the three-year cycle, the registered optometrist is required to undertake a controlled professional exchange of views regarding the professional development achieved with a colleague who is also registered with the GOC, based on his 'CPD plan'. In Germany, the Association of German Contact Lens Specialists and Optometrists (VDCO) has offered GOC-recognised CPD events in the past, which has been widely used, especially by German-speaking optometrists registered in the UK.  This will also be the case for the GOC cycle 2022 - 2025, which will make the VDCO events particularly interesting for colleagues from German-speaking countries in Europe. The Moravian-Austrian writer Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach once wrote: "Whoever stops wanting to improve, stops being good". In this spirit, I hope all readers enjoy reading the current issue of OCL.

Your Wolfgang Cagnolati

[1] General Optical Council: (2021). Continuing Professional Development (CPD) A guide for registrants. https://optical. org/en/publications/continuingprofessional- development-cpd-aguide- for-registrants.