Happenings and events from the optometry divisions in Australia and New Zealand
Last month we had lots of face to face contact with members… and loved every minute of it.
We started out the month with a CPD session for members interested in using screening as a means to build their business. Francoise Rateau shared her considerable experience of children’s vision screening and how this has assisted them in building a thriving specialised children’s practice. Jayson Ward talked about his experience with occupational screening bringing to life the possibilities in this huge field. Shirley Loh discussed the protocols used for screening in both the macular degeneration vision van and the National Indigenous eye health survey. She also outlined the OAA Screening Policy. Participants left the session with a good pool of tools and hints to implement a screening program in their local area.
New national registration requirements for optometrists make it mandatory for optometrists to have a current CPR certificate (to be updated every three years
Next up was a Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) session. We are rolling this out each month to interested members. New national registration requirements for optometrists make it mandatory for optometrists to have a current CPR certificate (to be updated every three years). The November and December session are already booked out but we will schedule further sessions for members next year. As well as providing a chance for members to get their CPR qualification this is also a great opportunity for members to catch up together. There is never a shortage of conversation in the room during the dinner break!
In addition to our regular monthly Board meeting we held our Annual General Meeting. Having covered off the formal business of the meeting members then heard an update from Professor Robyn Guymer from the Centre for Eye Research about developments towards the bionic eye. This was an amazing look into the future which makes anything seem possible!
Final Year Students
Late in the month we ran our annual session – Optometry, Medicare and the Health Care System – for the final year students. This session helps students in making the transition to the workforce. We had a great time playing Medicare games and then talked through the administrative steps that will ensure the students are up and running ready to practice next year. There are always a few reservations in the group at this time of year as they think about stepping into the real world of optometry but they are an enthusiastic bunch who are ready to leave the study behind. We wish them well with their final exams.
Of course we also had contact during the month from members who called or emailed with questions, comments and ideas. Ross Both came all the way from Horsham for a visit and was treated to tea and cake!
We have also written letters of support for members applying for assistance to purchase equipment through the National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program. One member recently wrote back “I can’t thank you enough for your support and for replying to me so incredibly quickly! I am extremely grateful.” To which we replied “No problem at all. We are here to help!”
Why not try asking us a question and give us the chance to surprise and delight you!
Contact the OAA Vic Division by email email@example.com or call us on (AUS) 03 9652 9100.
With the Labor party prevailing in the August 2010 federal election, with the help of independents, attention now moves to its 2009 announcement that regional primary health care organisations would be built from the existing network of Divisions of GP’s. In a statement made in conjunction with Health Minister Nicola Roxon, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd confirmed that a network of Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCO’s) would be set up as recommended by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.
The function of the new PHCOs is to work with proposed local health and hospital networks to improve the delivery of integrated care, particularly for people with chronic diseases.
General Practice Queensland has seventeen Divisions throughout Queensland and anticipates that they will be transformed into between nine and thirteen PHCO’s. I met with GPQ, and other agencies, on 24 August and promised to provide the name of an optometrist to participate in the development of each of the new organisations.
The seventeen GP divisions are Brisbane South (Salisbury), Capricornia, Central (Biloela), Far North, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Wide Bay, Brisbane North, Ipswich/West Moreton, Mackay, Moreton Bay, North & West (Mt Isa), South & West (Goondiwindi), South East Alliance (Capalaba), South East HealthCare (Logan), Sunshine Coast and Townsville.
Thus far members Megan Sullivan (Toowoomba), Stuart Macfarlane (South East HealthCare – Logan) and Kady Brandon (Townsville) have volunteered to represent optometry and more are needed. This is an exciting opportunity for the profession to be involved from the outset and I would encourage enthusiastic members in the remaining areas to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org without delay.
Months after National Registration the Queensland Health website reads, “An updated Ocular Therapeutic Protocol is under development and will be posted on this webpage very soon.” This has been the case since 27 July 2010 and given recent reports of 1,200 unanswered letters sitting in the Minister’s in-tray we are not hopeful of the early addition of dexamethasone and prednisolone to the list. Thankfully the topical glaucoma drugs were added in March 2010 and co-management appears to be working satisfactorily between members and ophthalmologists.
Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress
The sixth annual Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress (TLC V1) held in Hobart at the end of August achieved what each of its predecessors did by increasing the numbers above the previous year. TLC V1 exceeded one hundred attendees for the first time attracting 124.
Another first for TLC V1 was the introduction of on-line assessments, enabling members the option of increasing their CPD points by 50 per cent. Despite a few minor teething problems the system worked well. Forty three percent of those registered undertook the assessment that consisted of between five and 10 questions per paper, each with multiple-choice answers.
Members were provided with usernames and password details when they registered on arrival at TLC and given two weeks following TLC to complete their answers. The number of members who correctly answered the individual questions varied considerably from 18 per cent to 100 per cent. The average was 64 per cent. Following the assessment participants were asked to evaluate the system by the company providing the service, Educational Programs and Services.
One hundred percent of those responding indicated that the assessment process improved their educational outcomes and that the system was easy to use whilst 92 percent indicated that they would be prepared to pay an increased registration fee for similar opportunities in the future.
The TLC V1 online assessment was a pilot project and the cost was absorbed by the Optometrists Association Australia, Tasmanian Division. It was an added service to members that enabled them to value add CPD points with very little extra work required by the Congress organisers. Outgoing Tasmanian President, Tim Powell said that he received a lot of positive feedback not just about the online assessment but also the quality of the speakers and the varied program.
Speakers this year included former Test cricketer and optometrist Geoff Lawson, Dr Alex Gentle, Dr. Phillip Anderton, Dr. Chi Luu, Dr. Ehud Zamir, Neil Murray, Dr. Paul McCartney, Prof Noel Brennan, Roseanne Gregory, Joe Chakman and case studies by Tasmanian optometrists Lauren Kimmel and Brett Jenkinson.
The second European Eyewear Low Vision Seminar was again well supported and will almost certainly be a regular feature of future TLCs. Speakers at the Low Vision Seminar were Dr. Alan Johnston, Andrew Maver and Graham Sheil.
The CooperVision Congress dinner was again the social highlight of the weekend. This year it was held at the Henry Jones Art Hotel on Hobart’s famous waterfront where delegates enjoyed Tasmanian fine food and wine.
TLC V11 will be held from 26 to 28 August 2011. Keynote speaker will be Prof. Joseph Sowka, Professor of Optometry at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry in Florida USA. Prof Sowka lectures throughout the USA and internationally has authored numerous publications and book chapters. He specialises in glaucoma and retinal disease.