From CET to CPD – What are the key changes? 

After qualifying, all optical professionals have to demonstrate a commitment to developing their skills, knowledge and conduct to ensure they stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the sector and continue delivering the best possible care to their patients. The General Optical Council (GOC) sets out the training and development requirements for registrants and, from the 1st January 2022, these changed to reflect how the sector has evolved in recent years. 

Previously, in order to maintain their position on the GOC register, optical professionals had to attain a specific number of Continuing Education and Training (CET) points. From 1st January 2022, registrants will be required to obtain Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points instead. The GOC’s new CPD programme will follow a three-year cycle and – in a similar vein to CET – registrants will be expected to obtain a set number of CPD points each year. However, as well as providing evidence of their learning, they will now need to consider how they are putting that learning into practise and how it benefits patients, and complete a reflective exercise towards the end of the cycle where they discuss and evaluate their progress with a peer.  

Natalie Michaux, Standards Manager and CPD Review Lead at the GOC, set out the rationale behind the changes in an article for Optometry Today, stating that the CPD programme has been developed to be less restrictive than the CET programme, with more opportunity to develop new skills and “the flexibility to tailor learning to current and future practice, career aspirations and professional interests.” 

What does the CPD programme involve? 

All registrants will need to create a MyCPD account, which they will use to log any CPD activities they have completed and the points they obtained in the process.   

At the start of the CPD programme cycle, registrants will need to complete a personal development plan, where they consider the CPD that would be useful to them over the course of the next three years and plan their CPD activities accordingly. A template personal development plan is available via MyCPD. 

Registrants will need to evidence that they have taken part in at least one CPD activity in each of the four core domains identified by the GOC (domains have replaced competency subjects):  

  • Professionalism 
  • Communication
  • Clinical practice
  • Leadership and accountability

Registrants must obtain at least 36 CPD points across the four core domains during the three-year cycle in order to remain on the GOC’s register. Contact lens opticians and optometrists with an AS/SP/IP speciality are required to obtain an additional 18 CPD points in their speciality area (so 54 points overall).  

All registrants are required to log a minimum of 6 CPD points per year. 18 of their CPD points must involve interactive CPD (attending lectures, workshops or peer review events, or participating in distance learning activities that include significant and meaningful interaction with peers). Registrants are permitted to take part in self-directed CPD that is relevant to their scope of practice, providing they obtain at least 18 points from GOC-accredited CPD providers. All registrants must participate in at least one peer review event, as well as completing a reflective exercise with a peer. 

SpaMedica is an accredited CPD provider and offers a number of CPD opportunities throughout the year.   

We launched our SpaMedica Study programme in early 2021, where we hold regular CPD webinars hosted by our experienced consultant ophthalmologists to deliver educational programmes in one-hour sessions with plenty of time given for delegates’ questions to be answered. The topics are chosen from feedback from optometrists in consultation with our Director of Optometry, Christine Purslow, and each course is approved for one interactive CPD point. 

Our webinars are available to all optometrists. If you’re interested in attending one of our CPD sessions, please fill in the form on our website to be added to our CPD training delegate list and you will receive invitations to register and attend the events. 

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