The Optometrists Association of Queensland has welcomed the appointment of Mr. Paul Lucas as Health Minister in the newly elected Queensland Government, hailing it as a victory for eye care in the state.
The President of the OAA in Queensland, Ms. Shannon Pugh, said that the state’s 900 optometrists and two million patients had cause to celebrate the appointment because of his promise to introduce well overdue regulations allowing optometrists in Queensland, like their counterparts in other states, to prescribe eye drops for sufferers of glaucoma and other eye conditions.
“Optometry patients have been treated as second class citizens by a succession of disinterested Health Ministers and they now have cause for optimism with the appointment of Mr. Lucas,” said Ms. Pugh.
The Association, its members and patients waged a highly visible campaign during the state election process. Candidates of both persuasions were visited, thousands of letters were sent to Premier Bligh and then Health Minister Robertson, optometrists called talkback radio programs and hundreds of media articles appeared culminating in a full-page advertisement in The Courier-Mail which was reproduced throughout the state.
Three days before the election Mr. Robertson relented and agreed to change the regulations.
“Getting parity for Queensland optometry patients resulted from a ten-year struggle and I’d like to think that the next initiative for optometry patients would take a lot less. We have had very cordial dealings with Mr. Lucas in the past and I am extremely confident that we can work together to jointly provide patients with easy, quick, affordable and safe access to treatments for common eye diseases,” Ms. Pugh said.