- Delegation is different from referral. See section on Working with colleagues. Referral is when you arrange for another practitioner to provide a service that falls outside your scope of practice, contract or professional competence, such as referring a patient to a contact lens optician for contact lens care. Delegation is when you ask a colleague to provide care or undertake a procedure on your behalf.
- When you delegate care, you are still responsible for:
- the overall management of the patient, and must ensure that your patient receives the same standard of care that you would provide
- the work of the person to whom you have delegated the procedure and any clinical findings.287
- When you delegate, you should be satisfied that the person to whom you delegate has the skills and experience to provide the relevant care or undertake the procedure. If harm can result from the procedure, such as instilling eye drops or inserting and removing a contact lens, you must remain on the premises so you can intervene if necessary.288
- You should explain to the patient that you are delegating a particular part of their care to your colleague and that you will discuss any clinical findings with the patient.
- You must not delegate any part of the protected functions of sight testing or contact lens fitting, including any part that would be regarded as assessing the patient or exercising professional judgement, other than to someone who is registered to perform the protected functions.
287 General Optical Council (2016) Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, para 10.3 [Accessed 20 Nov 2020]
288 General Optical Council (2016) Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, para 10.3 [Accessed 20 Nov 2020]