CORU's aim is to ensure ongoing compliance with the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 ("the Act").
CORU has power to prosecute persons who commit offences under the Act.
Sometimes CORU has to use complex legal language when explaining about our enforcement functions as there are complex legal and professional issues involved. When we have to do so, we will explain the terms used as clearly as we can.
CORU relies upon referrals from members of the public to assist it in carrying out its enforcement functions and encourages members of the public to report suspected offences. In addition, CORU may carry out test purchases in order to ascertain whether individuals and/or companies are complying with the legal provisions regarding the dispensing of prescriptions and the sale of spectacles.
Protection of Title is an essential part of CORU's function to protect the public. Registrants are entitled to use the title that is designated to their profession as they have achieved the standard necessary to be registered within their designated profession.
It is a criminal offence for a non-registrant to use a protected title and the Enforcement Team at CORU is tasked with investigating and, where there is sufficient evidence, prosecuting, alleged use of protected titles by unregistered persons.
The Act regulates the issuing of prescriptions for spectacles, the dispensing of prescriptions for spectacles and the sale of spectacles. Only certain limited categories of person can lawfully carry out these activities.
The Act creates the following criminal offences:
- It is an offence for a person to issue a prescription for spectacles unless he or she is a registered medical practitioner or a registered optometrist;
- It is an offence for a person to dispense prescriptions for spectacles unless he or she is a registered medical practitioner, registered optometrist or registered dispensing optician;
- It is an offence for an individual to sell spectacles unless either
(i) he or she is a registered medical practitioner, a registered optometrist or a registered dispensing optician, or
(ii) the sale is conducted on the individual’s behalf by a registered medical practitioner, a registered optometrist or a registered dispensing optician;
- It is an offence for a body corporate to sell spectacles unless the sale is conducted by a registered medical practitioner, registered optometrist or registered dispensing optician.
- Under Section 81C it is an offence for a registrant of the Optical Registration Board (“ORB”) to contravene a bye-law made by the ORB under Section 81 of the Act. The ORB has made one bye-law to date under this section which came into operation on 31 October 2015 and can be found here.