You want to help your team achieve their best. However, getting the facts on employment and health and safety issues can be time consuming and costly. We help simplify things, so you can spend more time on developing your team and growing your practice.
If you have a question or want to talk something over, contact us [email protected] or phone 01244 688422.
If you are registered with the General Optical Council (GOC) you will need to comply with its business standards, which are also linked to your professional and human resources systems.
Good professional and human resources* practices are not only fair but also essential to your practice whatever its size.
The GOC business standards reinforce this by specifying that businesses have "a responsibility to ensure the care and safety of patients and the public and to uphold professional standards" (Introduction p6).
This is a direct, not a vicarious responsibility and involves enabling and supporting employed or engaged professionals to meet their own professional standards in the context of the business.
To meet the applicable GOC standards (shown in brackets below), you must have appropriate systems in place to:
- Provide all staff "with clear information in relation to all legislation relevant" to their role (2.2.6)
- "Induct new staff effectively and monitor them in meeting the requirements of the role" (3.2.4, 3.3.3)
- Check that all registrant staff have up-to-date registration (3.2.1)
- "Address and manage poor clinical and professional performance" (3.3.4)
- Monitor "staff objectives and training needs" (3.2.6)
- Support staff in developing their "communication skills and to treat patients with care and compassion" (3.2.2)
- Encourage "staff to undertake learning and development in relevant professional decision-making" (3.2.3)
- Encourage "staff to seek advice on difficult decisions, if they need to" and let them "know with whom they can do this" (3.1.5)
- Make clear that employed/engaged staff may "only work within the limits of their competence" and "take appropriate action where they do not" (3.2.5)
- Promote awareness of the GOC standards for individual registrants, students and optical businesses (3.1.1).
Clear job descriptions, HR policies and staff handbooks (including for temporary staff), combined with regular and systematic performance review and appraisal, will help you demonstrate compliance with all these standards.
We would also encourage you to process CET claims forms for temporary staff or locums so they can comply with their own registration requirements. If, as a practitioner or business, you are having difficulty with this, please contact [email protected] or call us on 020 7298 5151 and we will help you resolve the matter.
*The standards define staff as "anyone working within the context of the business in any of the following capacities: Optometrists and dispensing opticians including independent prescribers (IPs), contact lens opticians (CLOs) and locums; student optometrists and student dispensing opticians; other regulated healthcare professionals such as ophthalmic medical practitioners (OMPs); optical assistants or similar titles performing the duties of an optical assistant; any other staff whose roles could have an impact on patient care, for example, reception staff." (Introduction p5
If you are not registered with the GOC you still need to comply with all relevant legislation (Equalities Act 2010, Health & Safety at Work etc.)
The advice and support below will help you comply with GOC standards and your wider requirements as a practice owner.
Drafting contracts and policies, and keeping these up to date with legislation, can be time consuming and complex. An added layer of complexity is that rules and regulations vary across the UK.
To help save you time and cost we have worked with partners at Ellis Whittam to create model contracts and an employee handbook for all your staff. These are tailored to reflect the differences in employment law between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Read the guide to using template contracts and download the documents you need below.
We can also provide contract templates for HCPC registered audiologists, contact us for a copy by emailing [email protected].
Employment law changes regularly, so please check back for updates. We will also keep you up to date on changes through our newsletter, so make sure you are signed up.
Access information, template letters, policies and briefing notes and more in our employment law resource hub.