The College of Optometrists

Your role

You must work with colleagues in ways that best serve patients’ interests and communicate effectively with them.240
You must ensure your conduct, whether or not connected to your professional practice, does not damage public confidence in you or your profession.
You must not make any patient doubt the knowledge or skills of colleagues or other health professionals by making unnecessary or unfounded comments about them, either privately or publicly, for example through social media.
You must act quickly to protect patients from risks posed by colleagues or the environment in which services are provided. The safety of patients must come first. If you have serious concerns about any practitioner’s fitness to practise you should raise this with them first if you feel able to. If necessary you should escalate your concerns to an appropriate person. This could be the colleague’s line manager, employer, or person in a Primary Care Organisation or hospital. If you remain concerned you should consult the relevant professional, representative or regulatory body.
Raising a concern is different from making a complaint. See section on Raising concerns. If you make a complaint, you might be asked for evidence to prove your case. When you raise a concern, you should not be expected to prove the issue you are concerned about. If you are not sure whether you should act, ask yourself:
  1. what might the outcome be in the short- or longer-term if I do not raise my concern? And,
  2. how could I justify why I did not raise the concern?
You must treat your colleagues fairly. You must not allow your personal views to adversely affect your relationship with them. You must not discriminate against colleagues on the grounds of:
  1. age
  2. disability
  3. gender reassignment
  4. marriage and civil partnership
  5. pregnancy and maternity
  6. race
  7. religion or belief
  8. sex, or
  9. sexual orientation.
If you receive a prescription for dispensing from another practitioner and there is an anomaly or a complaint of non-tolerance after dispensing, you should, with the patient’s consent, contact the prescribing practitioner. You should agree a course of action with them and the patient. The Optical Confederation has produced guidance on this.241
You are encouraged to contribute to the professional development of your colleagues.

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