Optical Confederation Updates Safeguarding and Prevent Guidance for Optical Practices and Practitioners in the UK

The Optical Confederation has today published updated Guidance on Safeguarding, Mental Capacity, Deprivation of Liberties and the Prevent Strategy – Protecting Children and Adults at risk for optical practitioners and practices across the UK.

The guidance has been updated to reflect

  • updated inter-collegiate guidance on adult safeguarding roles and competences for health care staff (2018)
  • Information sharing – advice for practitioners for providing safeguarding services for children, young people, parents and carers (HM Government 2018)
  • updated inter-collegiate guidance on Safeguarding children and young people: roles and competencies for health care staff (2019)


It also incorporates

  • newer terminology e.g. the term ‘vulnerable adult’ is now no longer current – ‘adult at risk’ is the accepted term
  • the more recognised vulnerability of children who are radicalised
  • more symptoms of domestic abuse including coercive behaviour
  • non-verbal and indirect signalling of abuse
  • a body map for use in recording signs of injury or abuse


Optical Confederation Chair, Fiona Anderson said: “The good thing about the Optical Confederation guidance is that it provides everything optical practices and practitioners need in five easy steps and one easily accessible package. We commend it to all practices and practitioners to ensure that, as healthcare professionals, we play our full part in keeping children, adults at risk and our colleagues safe.”


Notes for Editors

The Optical Confederation guidance was first published in 2014 as the standard for community optical practitioners and practices.  This is important as variation increases risk.


The guidance covers all four UK countries.  It was first updated in 2017.  This is the third version.


How does the guidance work?   


The guidance both raises awareness and sets out five simple steps which anyone working in a community optical practice should follow if they notice, or believe they notice, signs of abuse, possible abuse or radicalisation in a patient, practice visitor e.g. sibling, or colleague.


What Level is the Guidance

Reading and understanding the guidance equates to Safeguarding Level 1 which is the appropriate training level for non-registrants.  Safeguarding Level 2 is the appropriate standard for optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (DOs).

DOCET provides on-line training to this level for optometrists and it is hoped that this will soon be extended to DOs.


About the Optical Confederation

The Optical Confederation (OC) represents the 13,000 optometrists, the 6,000 dispensing opticians and 7,000 optical businesses in the UK who provide high quality and accessible eye care services to the whole population. The Confederation is a coalition of the five optical representative bodies: the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO); the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM); the Association of Optometrists (AOP); the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO) and the Federation of Opticians (FODO).

The Confederation works with others including the College of Optometrists and the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) which provides quality, practical support to Local Optical Committees, to improve eye health for the public good.


For further information please contact: David Hewlettby email: [email protected] by telephone: 020 7298 5151