HL Deb 04 December 1989 vol 513 cc725-7

Lord Northfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the terms of reference of the disciplinary committee of the General Optical Council and what is meant by "high standards of professional conduct" in the Opticians Act when this is applied to the pricing and selling of spectacles.

Baroness Hooper

It is up to the General Optical Council to ensure that high professional standards are maintained by its members. There are no formal terms of reference for the council's disciplinary committee, but the standards it applies are based on past precedent and peer group expectations. Responsibility for the standard of professional service provided to the public, however, rests with the British College of Optometrists for ophthalmic opticians and the Association of Dispensing Opticians for dispensing opticians.

As the sale of spectacles is a private transaction it is up to individual opticians to use their commercial judgment and set their prices accordingly. This is normal business practice. The legislation covering their commercial activity is the consumer protection law. Provided opticians comply with this legislation, they are not in breach of the standards of professional conduct required under the terms of the Opticians Act 1958.