We handle cases where opticians are being investigated by their regulatory body, the General Optical Council (GOC)
The Regulatory Process
The disciplinary process that has been adopted by the GOC is as follows:-
- Investigation - the matter is initially investigated by a case examiner on behalf of the investigation committee. An interim order may be sought in order to either suspend the optician or impose restrictions/conditions upon them in terms of their ability to practice until the investigation against them is complete. As part of the investigation, the case examiner will gather evidence, including submissions from the optician who is the subject of the investigation, themselves. Should the case examiner decide that there is a case to answer, then they can refer the matter on to the fitness to practice committee for a hearing.
- Hearing - the hearing will be conducted by a panel from the fitness to practice committee. The panel will hear all of the evidence, and the optician who is the subject of the hearing will be able to present evidence in their own defence, call witnesses, and make representations.
- Decision and sanctions - Should the FTPC panel determine that the case has been proved on the balance of probabilities, then a range of sanctions are available to it. They may issue a warning, the details of which can be disclosed to anyone making enquiries. A financial penalty may be imposed, or conditions imposed upon the opticians ability to practice for up to 3 years (subject to review prior to expiry). Another option is to suspend the optician for up to 12 months (subject to review prior to expiry), or erasure from the register
- Appeal - the optician has the right to appeal against any sanction to the High Court.
Internal Disciplinary Proceedings
We also assist and represent opticians where they are the subject of internal disciplinary proceedings by their employer
What To Do If Regulatory Proceedings Are Commenced Against You
Should internal disciplinary proceedings or GOC regulatory proceedings be commenced against you, then please either telephone us on 0333 301 0700, or complete the questionnaire on the top right hand side of this page.