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Optometrist suspended for 12 months over misconduct

03/03/2017
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An optometrist who made inappropriate comments about a female athlete’s appearance has received a suspension order.

An optometrist who made inappropriate comments about a female athlete’s appearance has received a suspension order.

The UK’s General Optical Council (GOC) has issued a 12-month suspension for misconduct against Mr Stewart Clough, an optometrist based in Manchester.

Stewart Clough. Image courtesy: Central News
Stewart Clough. Image courtesy: Central News

Clough was ordered to desist from practising optometry for bringing disrepute to the optometry profession after he acted inappropriately towards a female patient during an eye test in December 2015.

According to multiple media reports, Clough, who was a practising optometrist at a Value Vision store in Manchester, was attending to the complainant – an equestrienne - when he remarked how the sport improved her figure.

The tribunal heard that Clough said that horse riding “gives you a really tight butt”. He then brushed the woman’s hair back, squeezed the top of her shoulder and slid his hand down her arm.

The patient then reported the matter to the police and was referred to the GOC as the regulatory authority for the industry.

It was also reported that, when Clough heard about the complaint, he wrote a letter to the woman offering cash compensation and free glasses if she withdrew the complaint.

In a statement released to the press, the GOC stated that, "the committee had no hesitation making a finding of misconduct ... The registrant's actions were serious and fell well below the standards expected of a registered optometrist."

The GOC further ruled that Clough’s practice was “impaired” due to his behaviour and imposed the sanction “to reflect the seriousness with which it views the registrant's misconduct.”

“With the preparation and delivery of a letter inviting her to withdraw the complaint, it decided that the misconduct should be marked by the maximum order available, namely a 12-month suspension order," the GOC added.

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