The College of Optometrists

Key points

  • You must communicate effectively with colleagues and work with them in ways that best serve your patients’ interests.
  • You must act quickly to protect patients from risks posed by colleagues.
  • You must treat colleagues fairly.
  • If you are the practice owner or manager, you should make it clear to patients that offensive behaviour will not be tolerated and they will not be seen for a consultation if they exhibit such behaviour.
  • You should only delegate patient care to appropriately skilled and experienced practitioners.
  • You should keep the patient informed when you delegate aspects of their care to a colleague.
  • You should write clear referral letters that contain relevant information about the condition, reason for referral and level of urgency.
  • You should give patients written information, or a copy of the referral letter and tell them what to expect.
  • Use your professional judgement about the urgency of a referral, taking into account College guidance or local protocols.
  • If you delegate patient care, or supervise others, you are still responsible for the patient and the clinical findings.
  • The protected functions of sight testing or contact lens fitting can only be undertaken by someone who is registered to perform those functions.
  • For good continuity of care you must keep good records and provide necessary patient information to practitioners to whom you refer, delegate or are supervising.
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This Guidance does not change what you must do under the law.

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