The eyes have it for proper practice

The number of claims for compensation against opticians in Britain and Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in three years.

According to statistics from the General Optical Council (GOC), only 129 complaints were registered during the year from2006 to 2007, a drop of 29 per cent since the year 2004 to 2005 when 182 grievances were filed.

While 56 per cent of complaints did not require any further action, just 32 per cent of complaints had to be escalated. Some 14 per cent of complaints were withdrawn before the GOC's Investigation Committee could review them. Thirteen cases overall led to performance assessment or review and 18 remain unresolved, due to ongoing investigations.

Most of the causes for complaint were due to optometrists, while 21 dispensing opticians were the subject of complaints. Four students and 15 corporate bodies also received one or more complaints.

GOC's chairman Rosie Varley commented: "These figures confirm that the majority of optometrists and dispensing opticians are practising safely and competently. UK optometry and dispensing optics continue to have high standards of education, as well as continuing education and training. Fair and effective procedures for dealing with the small minority who experience problems mean that the public can have confidence in eye care professionals."

She added: "A steadily growing workforce should signal to the public that eye care services remain accessible and dependable."

This news means that solicitors in Britain and Northern Ireland are unlikely to see medical negligence claimants who have cases against the optical industry.

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