OCCS - Continual Educational Training (CET) Programmes

May 02, 2019
At the OCCS, in addition to assisting both optical professionals and the general public with mediation, we also offer further training to optic professionals through our extensive Continual Educational Training programmes. 

In today’s blog entry we offer a behind the scenes insight into how our CET programme works and what practitioners can expect from them.

The Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS) is an independent and free mediation service for consumers (patients) of optical care and the professionals providing that care. The service is funded by the General Optical Council, which regulates opticians, optometrists and dispensing opticians.

The OCCS, on average, deals with 1,600 cases per year. The vast majority of the complaints that we receive are linked to a breakdown of communication between the practitioner and the client more so than general malpractice or poor advice. 

Within the complaints regarding poor advice the biggest issues, which are increasing due to an aging population and easier access to such services, are wrongly prescribed varifocals, laser eye surgery and progressive lens dispensing. Only 2% of all cases require more formal investigation by the regulator where there is a concern which could bring registrants fitness to practice into question. 

Our training programmes are designed to assist professionals to ensure that best practice is followed with a focus heavily on client/practitioner relationship. We offer four different training programmes that each follow a similar structure of interactive presentation using redacted case studies to stimulate learning and discussion amongst the participants. The confidential discussions allow staff to build conversations in a relaxed, encouraging and educational environment. The sharing of best practice and upholding of professional standards is paramount to the CET programs and promote knowledge based sharing as a platform for learning, all guided by our dedicated staff. 

OCCS Clinical Consultant, Richard Edwards says, ‘The insights from cases at the OCCS lend themselves perfectly to the peer group discussion format. Feedback from delegates is hugely positive about the sessions and I am particularly excited about our new session that helps registrants understand how some complaints escalate to Fitness the Practice and others if handled well don’t. This session seems to be particularly well received by attendees.’

The structure allows for the sharing of ideas, the opportunity to learn from colleagues and provides actionable and deliverable takeaways that can be used in real world scenarios. 

More often than not, the question or phrase that is a principal part of our training is ‘How can I fix this for you?’

This simple question can often be enough to help restore broken trust between the practitioner and the client and move towards resolving the issue and ensuring that the client is satisfied. 

If you would like to learn more about how the OCCS can support your CET event please contact our team via 0344 800 5071 or enquiries@opticalcomplaints.co.uk. 
Since 1 April 2014, the OCCS has assisted over 4,500 consumers and practices to resolve their consumer complaints. Jennie Jones, head of the OCCS, explains: ‘We are delighted that the OCCS  is seen as an effective and useful service, providing independent and impartial mediation and advice. The team does an amazing job ensuring that both the consumer and the practice feel heard, understood, and importantly, helped to find a very practical resolution to the complaint. Mediation is not about judgment or deciding who is right. It is about understanding each other’s perspective to be able to find an answer both can accept. We will soon be reporting on our 4th year in action, and look forward to sharing even more insight and useful information for all involved in optics.'