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22 January 2021

Member update - 22 January

This week

GOC responds to OPG petition

The General Optical Council (GOC) has responded to a petition organised by the Ophthalmic Practitioners Group (OPG).

In the statement, the GOC recognises that “these are really challenging times for our registrants who are working on the front line as healthcare professionals delivering the nation’s eye care needs”. The GOC clarifies its role, the role of health services in the four nations, and professional guidance.

The sector regulator provides a factual account of its Covid-19 statements and consultations and an overview of work on the Education Strategic Review (ESR). It acknowledges “the petition calls upon the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to investigate allegations and we will provide further information on the matter as required. We would always encourage those who have concerns, to raise these directly with us”.

Read the GOC’s full statement.

Vaccination update – FODO, NCHA and FODO Ireland

The FODO and NCHA policy team has been in communication with all the public health and health service leads in the UK and Republic of Ireland to ensure frontline healthcare staff are included in vaccination programmes in line with the priorities recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) (UK) and National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC)


Following our vaccine updates on 8 January and 15 January, primary eye care teams are starting to be invited to participate in local Covid-19 immunisation programmes. Exact details vary locally, but all GOS contractors will be approached.

All non-NHS practices and practitioners (including self-employed and locum practitioners) are entitled to be included in these programmes in the same was as NHS frontline workers.

If you have concerns about the process in your local area, please contact us at [email protected].

FODO Ireland

We are in regular contact with the Department of Health and HSE about the rollout process for primary eye care and audiology teams in line with the priorities set by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). Please read our full update on

NCHA – audiology

We are aware that local immunisation teams have not yet contacted many community audiologists. Please read our update for all audiologists on

Academy statement Covid-19 vaccinations

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC) has supported “the decision of the four UK chief medical officers to prioritise the delivery of the first Covid-19 vaccine dose, and to delay the second dose to up to 12 weeks”. The AMRC has acknowledged that people were concerned that the second dose would be delayed but said: “The policy of getting the vaccine to as many people as possible in the shortest possible time is, in public health terms, absolutely right.” Read more

Asymptomatic testing to be rolled out across England

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced it will expand regular lateral flow testing for people without coronavirus symptoms from this week. Local authorities (LAs) will be encouraged to target testing at people who can’t work from home during the national lockdown. More LAs are expected to take up the initiative over time. Read more

Training for Scottish optical assistants

Optical assistants in Scotland can now apply for Level 5 and 7 Certificates in Optical Care. The Optician reports that the course has received funding from the optometry division of NHS Education Scotland (NES), which means the cost per employee has been kept at £200 for a Level 5 course or £250 for a Level 7 course per employee. 


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