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OBA Announce Change to Obtain CPD from One to Two Years

Following consultation with the industry, the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) has amended continuing professional development (CPD) requirements so that optometrists are now able to accumulate their CPD points over two registration periods, and still meet the necessary registration requirements.

Optometrists renewing their registration in November will need to make a declaration that they have met the CPD requirements for the previous registration renewal period (since 1 December 2010) or that they have a plan in place to complete the two years’ requirements by the end of the next registration period (30 November 2012). This means optometrists must accumulate 80 points over no more than two registration periods starting from 1 December 2010.

This amendment will provide optometrists with increased flexibility to meet the requirements and develop an appropriate personal CPD plan. It is consistent with the CPD requirements for membership to the OBA that were in place prior to the introduction of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

Mr. Colin Waldron, Chair of the OBA, said the Board had changed its policy on the advice of its Continuing Professional Development Accreditation Committee. “Protection of the public has been at the forefront in developing the requirements of the Board’s registration standard on continuing professional development. The Board wants to encourage a commitment to life-long learning within the profession and believes that the flexibility of accumulating the requirements over a two-year period will encourage this without compromising the protection of the public,” said Mr. Waldron.

The OBA has amended CPD requirements so that optometrists are now able to accumulate their CPD points over two registration periods

To guide optometrists through the registration and CPD process, the Optometry Board of Australia has published new FAQs content on its website. The FAQs section includes details on CPD requirements, accredited and non-accredited CPD activities and record keeping. It also lists the Board’s CPD document and outlines information of interest to providers of CPD activities. In other changes, the Board has developed and published an information sheet to advise optometrists who have had an absence from practice, for more than three years, on how to comply with the standard.

Update Details

Optometrists across Australia have also been urged to update their contact details held by the OBA to ensure they don’t miss reminders to renew their registration. About 4,440 optometrists are due to renew their registration by 30 November – the annual registration renewal date under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

Optometrists based in ACT and Western Australia, who renewed their registration by 30 June 2011, must also renew again on 30 November.

The Australian Health Practitioners regulation Authority (AHPRA) and the OBA are implementing an intensive communication campaign to support the renewal process, including sending several reminder emails and letters to individual practitioners and a newsletter from the Board. Optometrists should watch for these reminders as confirmation that they can now renew online.

To ensure these reminders are received, optometrists should visit www.ahpra.gov.au to check their contact details and update them if necessary. Additionally, email accounts should be set to receive communications from AHPRA and the Board to avoid misdirection to an account junk box.

Registration Essential

Registration is essential – under the National Law, optometrists who do not renew registration within one month of their registration expiry date must be removed from the National Register of Optometrists. Their registration will lapse and they will not be able to practise optometry in Australia until a new application is approved.

Practitioners whose application to renew has been received can practise while their application is processed. Additionally, if a practitioner’s name is listed on the National Register of Optometrists, this is evidence for employers that a practitioner is registered, even if their registration expiry date had passed but their application for renewal is being processed.

Once they have submitted their application to renew registration, optometrists can check that it has been received via the Board’s website at www.optometryboard.gov.au.