On 1 April 2014, our new Fitness to Practise Rules came into force. These were designed to speed up the process, help us to act faster to protect the public and reduce the stress that long investigations can cause for registrants.
The main changes were:
the introduction of case examiners as the principle decision-makers at the current Investigation Committee stage;
the Registrar now has the power to refer the most urgent cases directly to a Fitness to Practise hearing; and
the Registrar is now able to refer some cases to an Interim Order hearing.
The new Rules remain as fair and rigorous as before. Registrants continue to have an opportunity to respond to all allegations made against them, and all final decisions are made by an independent panel with access to expert legal advice.
Our Chief Executive and Registrar, Samantha Peters, spoke to Optometry Today about the changes: