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General Optical Council

Public perceptions

The brief

As the UK regulator for the optical professions, the General Optical Council (GOC) is responsible for setting standards for optometrists, dispensing opticians, optical students and optical businesses.

The GOC is committed to ensuring these standards remain fit for purpose, reflect the current context and provide continued public protection.

As part of a larger review, this research aimed to help the GOC better understand patient and public views on its Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, as well as their Standards for Optical Students.

The approach

  • Shift conducted six focus groups with 45 patients and members of the public, split by age group, as well as 10 additional in-depth interviews with vulnerable service users to ensure their experiences were appropriately explored.
  • We gathered insights on the standards more broadly and explored four key topic areas: online conduct and the use of social media, appropriate professional boundaries, the use of technology to provide care, and delegation and supervision.
  • Respondents were provided with an accessible pre-read document ahead of the discussion to offer context, which included information about the GOC, the standards, and the topics this research explored. This provided respondents with a useful foundation to share their views in the focus groups and interviews.

The value

  • Shift developed a visual, engaging and accessible public report of the research findings. The report identified key areas of consideration, highlighting any themes or standards which the GOC may wish to focus on as they continue their review.
  • Shift also provided visual infographics to allow the GOC to easily share our key findings with stakeholders and the wider public.
  • A clear and succinct recorded presentation of the key findings was also shared with the GOC, to be distributed internally with key stakeholders.