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OPT013: Legal Aspects of UK Optometry

This module aims to provide you with a comprehensive review of the legal and regulatory obligations in optometric practice in the UK.

The module content is presented in an engaging format that is commensurate with everyday practice – much of it is based on realistic situations that the practitioner will recognise and empathise with. This will be particularly useful to those engaged in commissioning or enhanced services provision, or to practitioners returning to work after a career break.

There is no practical element to this module. This is a distance learning only module.

Start dateSeptember
Duration22 contact hours over one academic term
Credits10 credits (CET points available)
Module tutorsKevin Wallace
Peter Hampson
Tuition fees (2020/21)£620 - Home students
£1155  - Students from outside the EU
*Please contact us for EU fees.
Module codeOPT013

Learning objectives

On completion of this module you should be able to:

  • critically reflect a knowledge of complex, controversial and/ or contentious issues related to legal aspects of UK optometry and healthcare
  • evaluate and apply modern key concepts of law and ethics in optometry and health care practice in general and be able to apply them to challenges within your own environment and optometric practice
  • explore, critically analyse, synthesise and evaluate legal and ethical issues surrounding contracts, regulation, appointments, services and sales and underpinning ethics and responsibilities in optometric practice and apply this knowledge to given scenarios, demonstrating how you would determine appropriate or inappropriate behaviour
  • present balanced and informed arguments, incorporating critical judgment and decision making in written work.

How the module will be delivered

This module is taught via a series of lectures (Powerpoint with audio), delivered via Learning Central, the University’s e-learning system, with supporting resources and references supplied. There is an introductory webinar, and a further session of guided online learning. This is a distance learning only module.

Discussion boards accessed via Learning Central will provide a platform for students to discuss any questions or queries that come up throughout the term with both the course tutors and their peers.

Students will consider typical legal or ethical dilemmas in UK optometric practice and will discuss these online and in a webinar. This will be in advance of the final assignment and will provide a grounding for the analysis of the case.

Syllabus content

  • The British legal system
  • Registration with the professional bodies and the need for professional indemnity cover
  • The NHS and optometry
  • Legislation in the practice for employers and employees
  • Contracts in optometry
  • Data Protection Act and Confidentiality
  • Record keeping
  • Patient complaint procedures
  • Negligence and misadventure
  • The General Optical Council (GOC)
  • Code of Conduct
  • European legislation in relation to optometry
  • Making referrals
  • Giving advice to patients
  • Regulations surrounding the eye examination and recent changes to the legislation
  • Fitting, care, sale and supply of contact lenses
  • Legal issues around the supply of spectacles

Skills that will be practised and developed

Academic skills

  • Advance your own knowledge and understanding
  • Collate and synthesise information from several resources to improve learning
  • Write concisely and clearly for the academic and clinical community
  • Interpret data

Generic skills

  • Manage projects and time
  • Work independently
  • Use a range of IT software packages and online resources
  • Problem solving

How the module will be assessed

Formative assessment

  • These are online MCQ tests that will enable you to assess your comprehension and application at the end of each lecture.
  • There will be formative (unmarked) coursework and an ongoing discussion of various issues via the forum.

Summative assessment

  • Written coursework (100%): Students will be presented with scenarios that represent typical legal or ethical dilemmas in UK practice. They will research these and will submit an essay towards the end of the course.

Postgraduate team

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences