Survey of General Optical Council disciplinary and fitness to practise hearings
: 2001-2011

  • Josie Forte

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisOphthalmic Doctorate


The aim of this survey was to review 187 transcripts from the United Kingdom’s General Optical Council (GOC) Disciplinary and Fitness To Practise (FTP) Committee hearings from 2001 to 2011 in order to identify common themes and thereby help practitioners to avoid the more frequently occurring pitfalls that were recorded during this period. The study covered changes in GOC FTP regulations in 2005, which involved a change from a disciplinary to a fitness to
practise process. The number of cases was very small compared to the total number of optometrist and dispensing optician registrants, which was 13709 in 2001-02 rising to 18582 in 2010-11. The main findings indicated that between 2001 and 2011 there was a three times greater likelihood that male registrants versus female registrants would be brought in front of a GOC Disciplinary or FTP Committee. In terms of erasures from the GOC registers between 2001 and 2011, male registrants were also more likely to be erased than females. The male: female split for erasures between 2001 and 2011 was five: one, increasing to seven: one when considering the situation post the 2005 GOC FTP rule change. Of the cases brought before the Disciplinary and FTP Committees between 2001 and 2011, it was noted that cases implicating theft and fraud were most frequent representing 27% of hearings examined (17% involving NHS fraud and 10% theft or fraud from an employer). The examination of transcripts revealed other hearings were more complex. These hearings often had a primary reason for the investigation that highlighted further secondary concerns that also required investigation.
Date of AwardSept 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorFrank Eperjesi (Supervisor)


  • disciplinary
  • fitness to practise (FTP)
  • General Optical Council (GOC)
  • optometrists
  • dispensing opticians

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