Optical Express optometrist suspended over RAF laser surgery claim

Undercover filming by the BBC
Image caption John Margetts said he was not told to make the claims by Optical Express

An optometrist who claimed laser eye surgery was "mandatory" for RAF pilots has been suspended for 12 months.

John Margetts made the claim to an undercover BBC reporter at a Bristol branch of Optical Express.

The firm said it dismissed Mr Margetts in September 2015 following an internal investigation and disciplinary hearing.

At a General Optical Council hearing on Friday, Mr Margetts was found to be dishonest and his fitness to practise impaired.

During the undercover filming, for the BBC programme Inside Out, Mr Margetts claimed fighter pilots were required to have laser eye surgery. The RAF said the claim was not true.

When asked if the procedure was "100% safe", he replied: "Oh yeah."

Image caption The claim was made during an hour-long consultation in Bristol

Mr Margetts told the BBC he must have "misheard" the question about whether the treatment was 100% safe. He added that he always explained the potential risks of the procedure.

He said he was not told to make the claim by Optical Express.

The firm said it prioritised patient care and safety, and Mr Margetts' statements ran counter to its best practice.

A spokesman added Mr Margetts was suspended from his duties when the firm became fully aware of this matter, and dismissed on 9 September 2015.

Mr Margetts was suspended from practice following a four-day hearing at the General Optical Council. He now has a right to appeal against the decision.

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