Happenings and events from the OPTOMETRY divisions in australia and new zealand
As the year moves towards a close, we have noticed an increase in calls to the Victorian office to discuss employment contracts. We welcome those calls.
The 40 new graduates from the University of Melbourne are exploring their options as they head into the workforce and for most, it’s the first time they’ve seen an employment contract. Many have already signed up for next year. Certainly, this group of students is looking at a different future to their counterparts of 20 years ago – but then we would probably have said the same thing 20 years back. When we asked the final year students about their future plans earlier in the year only around 30 per cent said they thought they might run their own practice one day. I suspect these figures would have been reversed 20 years ago.
We are very happy to talk to members about employment matters. It is so important to sort out the details before you start work.
It is not just the graduating students looking at new jobs. We have had many calls from optometrists wanting advice about contracts to take up new positions as well as calls from employing optometrists.
It is important that employees understand the conditions in their contract. A quick call to the Optometrists Association office can often resolve a question so that you can feel confident signing the contract and knowing what you are committing to. One of the areas we receive a lot of calls about is the restraint clause. Most contracts include a restraint clause – a provision which limits where you can practice after you cease working with that employer. Whilst it is reasonable for an employer to include a restraint clause it is important that you understand the clause and how it might impact on your future practice of optometry.
We are very happy to talk to members about employment matters. It is so important to sort out the details before you start work. The most important advice we consistently give to both employees and employers is ‘… know what you want and be upfront about that.’ It is not a good idea to start a new job thinking ‘I’ll sort out the details once I start work’. Employment is a two way street and the best arrangements are achieved when it works for both parties. The employment arrangement has a better chance of working if both parties have been honest.
If you have any concerns, just call me and we can talk it through. And the key message again – to help create a satisfying and long term job, it’s better to sort out any issues before you sign on the dotted line.
Co-operation the Key at Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress
Co-operation was the key message delivered in many of the presentations at the recent Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress IV. The lecture given by ophthalmologist Paul McCartney on ‘Glaucoma Co-management – Exploring the Possibilities’ was very well received by all present and the apparent co-operation between ophthalmologists and optometrists in Tasmania impressed visitors from other States.
Paul’s presentation came less than a week after a meeting of the Minister’s Consultative Committee on Prescribing of Therapeutic Agents by Optometrists met and recommended that 13 glaucoma drugs be added to the list of Class 1 substances in Schedule 7 of the Poisons Regulations 2002.
The final session of Congress on Sunday afternoon heard from another ophthalmologist, Brendan Vote, who delivered a paper on ‘Glaucoma Likelihood Score – a Means of Assessing Your Glaucoma Patient’. Each of these lectures was extremely valuable as Tasmania moves towards co-management of glaucoma patients in the New Year. OAA Tasmanian President, Tim Powell, said that, “the presentations given by Paul McCartney and Brendan Vote were indicative of the great advances that had been achieved in the co-operation between the two professions”.
TLC IV got off to a great start with welcome drinks at Parliament House followed by a graphic presentation by Andrew Koch of the need for assistance with basic eye care in some of the developing countries to out north.
Daryl Guest and his panel of speakers including Alan Saks, Rod Baker and Andrew Hogan provided an entertaining yet thought provoking ‘Hypotheticals’ session. Congress was officially opened by Alison Ritchie MLC then the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and now the Minister for Planning and Workplace Relations.
The second Annual Keith Mackriell Lecture was presented by Rod Baker, National Councillor from Victoria, and along with his lecture on the second day demonstrated the need for understanding and co-operation between parents and optometrists when dealing with children’s vision.
The keynote speaker this year was Alan Saks from New Zealand. Alan, a third generation optometrist, has lived and worked in both New Zealand and South Australia. As well as a practicing optometrist, Alan is in demand as a speaker and contributes articles on a regular basis to a number of journals. Alan’s two presentations drew a lot of interest and questions from delegates.
Roseanne Gregory, the Orientation and Mobility Instructor for Guide Dogs Tasmania, further highlighted the need for co-operation with life skills training and optometric services.
Case studies and examples of innovative ways of dealing with some of the problems presented to members are always popular sessions at Congress. Byron Harrison, John Kingshott and Victorian visitor, John Warren gave interesting examples of ‘Life at the Coal Face’.
Tim Greenaway, a Hobart endocrinologist, continued the theme of co-operation with his most relevant lecture on the co-management of diabetic patients by optometrists, GPs and endocrinologists.
A Tasmanian Congress would not be complete without a presentation by former State President, Andrew Hogan. Andrew provided an interesting review of some of the technical books he has recently read interspersed of course with some light-hearted comments on some of his other more questionable reading material.
The CooperVision Congress Dinner, again held at The Henry Jones Art Hotel, provided the opportunity for delegates to sample some fine Tasmanian food and wine and enjoy some great fellowship in a relaxed setting.
In his closing remarks, Tim Powell thanked the 84 delegates who had attended the 13 sessions of Congress and the trade exhibition. This year’s trade exhibition attracted a record 16 exhibitors and sponsors. It would not be possible to provide such a comprehensive program of lectures and displays without the generous support of our sponsors. New year TLC V will be held from 14 to 16 August.
Life Membership Awarded
The Association awarded its first Life Membership Award for many years at the recent Annual General Meeting. President Tim Powell presented retired optometrist, Ken Iredale, with his certificate during the official opening of TLC IV.
Ken Iredale arrived in Sydney from Britain in 1939. He was an optometrist from the young age of 17 and moved to Australia where he made the first contact lenses in Australia for OPSM. Initially, he made lenses from glass and later was also the first to manufacture them from plastic.
Ken Iredale played a central role in the formation of the Association in Tasmania following his arrival in 1946. He attended the inaugural meeting in 1946. He was the Association’s first secretary/treasurer, a role he held for many years. Ken has also served as president of the association in Tasmania.
He has practiced as an optometrist for 53 years, 41 of those years in Tasmania. He retired as an optometrist in 1987, aged 70.
The Tasmanian Division is proud to confer life membership on Ken Iredale, only the second such honour awarded by the Tasmanian Division. The other was the late Arthur Ley.
Ocular Allergy Seminars
Two ocular allergy seminars were held during September featuring CPD sessions and networking dinners with members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. The sessions were generously sponsored by Alcon who conducted a dry eye seminar in Hobart last October.
This year’s seminars were held in Hobart and Launceston. A total of 70 people registered for the Hobart session including 18 optometrists whilst in Launceston 56 registered including 16 optometrists. Brisbane optometrist Luke Arundel was the presenter.
The sessions are designed so that optometrists and pharmacists from the same areas or precinct sit together for dinner and the lecture. The sessions are a wonderful opportunity to network, and surprisingly, there are quite a few optometrists and pharmacists from the same areas who had not previously met. Byron Harrison made full use of the opportunity in Hobart to arrange a visit to his practice by some of his local pharmacists. Well done Byron.
“Ken Iredale played a central role in the formation of the Association in Tasmania following his arrival in 1946”
November is the most important month in the Division’s calendar. Indeed, the very future of the Division depends on one day in each November! It is the timing of the Annual General Meeting and President’s Graduands Ball & Annual Awards.
This year these events will be held on Saturday, 8 November and as midnight draws near the Division will have a brand new council to manage it for the next twelve months, 45 brand new members and countless promises and undertakings from a day of networking.
For the fourth year in succession, an election for Council is not required. President Shannon Pugh, Vice-President Henry Heron and Treasurer Nancy Atkinson were unopposed as were Councillors Simon Hurwood, Kate Johnson and Asha Mahasuria. Dave Foresto and Gary Page did not stand for Council, enabling new nominees, Tom Bennet and Jason Holland to be elected. Dave has been an outstanding contributor on Council, as has Gary, and we thank them both. Gary will not be lost to opto-politics however, as he continues as a member on the Minister’s Therapeutics Advisory Committee.
The graduating group of 45 is the largest seen in the past 10 years and, almost without exception, they have already made their employment decisions, many as a result of the 22 July OAA Practice Expo. During the Ball, President Shannon and National President Andrew Harris will present them with the complimentary OAA Qld/NT membership certificates, giving them automatic membership until 30 June 2009. For the year following they will receive a 50 per cent discount on membership.
The large group of academic and VIPs attending the Ball come from QUT, government, medicine, ophthalmology, occupational therapy, dentistry, physiotherapy, podiatry, chiropractic and pharmacy – representing a unique opportunity to compare notes on evolution of the professions and to gain undertakings about closer cooperation in the pursuit of better patient outcomes. The professions are very close in Queensland and the OAA President and councillors are regular attendees at functions convened by other professions.
QUT graduates from 1978, 1988 and 1998 will celebrate their reunions at the Ball and no doubt some tall tales will be told.
Modern day politics is nothing if not uncertain especially when it comes to election time.
It’s amazing how quickly political fortunes can change depending on the mood of the electorate and the political climate of the day.
This was never more apparent than with the 6 September State Election when WA for the first time in its history, achieved a Hung Parliament with neither party being able to form government within its own right.
What most considered an ‘unlosable election’ for the Government, became quite the opposite and has shown that no result can ever be taken for granted. It has also shown that every seat is ultimately important no matter how ‘safe’ it may be considered as many literally came down to a handful of votes in determining a result.
To the Liberal/National Government, we would like to congratulate their efforts in forming government. Additionally, OAA looks forward to working with Dr. Kim Haymes as the new Health and Indigenous Affairs Minister.
OAA is confident of being able to continue to make a positive contribution to Health issues effecting West Australian’s with the Minister and the WA Health Dept into the future.
WAVE 2008 was a resounding success with registrations up both locally and interstate, and sponsorship support with over 30 exhibitors in the Trade Exhibition.
Planning is already underway for next year with the event and will again be held at the Esplanade Hotel and Convention Centre, 29-31 August 2009.
Next year’s conference is shaping up as another great event and will continue to build on the ground work of previous conferences.
WA Constitutional Re Write
A draft has now been completed to replace the previous 1991 version.
The need for an up to date and modernised constitution is all the more important given the rapidly changing environment and nature of the profession today.
Several changes have occurred in areas including technology and communications as two examples.
The new Constitution is also consistent for the first time with the recently completed National Constitution updated earlier this year.
WA AGM and Election of Office Bearers
The results of OAAWA Annual General Meeting resulted in: President, Geoff Smith; Immediate, Past Pres, Andrew Godfrey; Vice President’s, Darrell Baker and Gary Crerie; Treasurer, Simon Hogan; Councillors, Lily Wegrzynowski, Rodney Hodge, Bjorn Russell and Bhargav Dave.
Darrell, Bhargav and Bjorn are all making their debut on WA Council. Retiring from Office this year were Peter Murphy and Peter McClurg after several years of representing WA Council.