Comment from Australia and New Zealand
By the time this column appears, the CEO of the NSW division will be back from annual leave. I have been filling in as best I could in his absence.
The experience has been enlightening. I have been struck by how reliant members of the Association are on the Association for advice and support in their professional lives.
A typical day would see several dozen telephone call and emails from members. CPD compliance has been the big issue in recent weeks. Members need to know how many points they have, whether they comply, the rules about roll over of points, do they need to do CPD while on maternity leave and it goes on. The Optometry Board of Australia is probably the right source of information on these things but members feel more comfortable contacting the Association.
Members are more and more confused about the increasing disparity between the Medicare Benefits Schedule and current optometric practice
Then there are the questions about staff. How do I hire them? How do I fire them? What are their entitlements? Employed optometrists ring to complain about their employers or ask for advice on the
contract that a potential employer has asked them to sign.
There are calls from members about problem patients and calls from patients, complaining about optometrists.
Medicare is a perennial favourite. Members are more and more confused about the increasing disparity between the Medicare Benefits Schedule and current optometric practice; disturbed about the difference between rebates and the cost of delivering the services.
We have optometrists contacting the Association asking about advertising and often angry about the advertising of others in the industry.
Members call regarding private health funds, discriminatory practices, their poor rebate, confusing schedules and there latest whizz-bang plans to add more pressure onto health care providers.
What about internet contact lenses?
The list goes on and on.
I will be glad when Andrew is back.
The days are long and warm. How can it be November already?
Now is surely the time to start planning your CPD activities for next year. Whether you are a repeat attender or a first timer we’d love to see you at SRC in 2013. Or perhaps you are planning a series of CPD activities – catch a few Association-run webinars, score some points by reviewing a Clinical and Experimental Optometry article or get together with your local peer learning group for some lively discussion and learning. Whatever your choice, be aware that the OBA CPD standards should guide your CPD thinking. For members who have been audited this year this will be very much in your thoughts. For those who haven’t, you should also be aware of the requirements about face to face or industry sessions, therapeutic or business points, workshop or lectures, with or without assessment. And if you have any questions, remember the Association staff is waiting eagerly to answer them.
I’d also encourage you to spare a few minutes to think about what you want from your Association. We are here to serve and to please! Why not send us an email or call for a chat. I always love hearing from members and that’s exactly how all the best activities, information sheets and CPD sessions unfold – over a simple chat the idea germinates and suddenly we have something that helps not just you but all our members.
Thank you to all who joined us at the members’ breakfast at the zoo. It is always a treat to bring members together and watch them enjoy themselves. The CPD session was a treat too – the great outdoors proving a stimulating topic as we head into summer. Should tigers worry about the effect of UV on their eyes? You should have been there!
Welcome to Final Year Students
And to close, a message to this year’s final year students. Throughout the year I have been chatting to final year students as they start to make employment decisions. Some will start their professional working life in Victoria. Others will head interstate. Either way this is the time to say a big welcome to these terrific young people – just taking a deep breath after finishing their exams. I want to encourage all new young members to be mindful of the crucial role they have to play in providing primary eye health care. This is such an important role; and not one to be taken lightly. So welcome to the great profession of optometry.
Over the long weekend in October, the second group of 25 WA optometrists successfully completed their final examination and with that, their post graduate ocular therapy course. At the same time, another 20 completed their final clinical skills workshop, which for them, marked the mid way point in their course and training. The latter, our third group to participate in the ocular therapy program, will complete the first of the two units necessary of the course this month (November) with their final exams later next year. Thank you to Professor Fiona Stapleton from the University of New South Wales School of Optometry and her team who continue to partner with the OAA WA Division to administer and deliver the course locally for those wanting to undertake the training.
It’s worth noting that almost every participant tells us it was initially hard to commit to the ocular therapy course. It does ultimately take a firm commitment and level of application to participate. Despite the apparent upfront difficulties and challenges that it can pose, once completed however, virtually every graduate of the program acknowledges that they’re pleased to have done so. Additionally, they say they have gained
a considerable amount of knowledge that will assist them with patient care and treatment, and broaden the scope of the profession.
As group three concludes the first unit of their program, we are now calling for nominations for our fourth ocular therapeutics course. Please contact us at the OAA WA for details (AUS) 08 9321 2300.
Recorded CPD Available
In other areas of continued professional development, in September we recorded our first CPD session for use by members. Over 70 members attended the lecture titled ‘Everything Retina’, by Dr. Chris Kennedy. Copies of the lecture were made available and distributed to WA members.
By next year, we will look to adopt technology for webinars, teleconferencing and, where possible, also look at including assessments. Our aim is for all members to take advantage of this type of access to help maximise their educational experience and opportunities to earn their CPD points.
Spring Golf Da
The OAA Spring Golf Day at the Vines Resort has been and gone. As always, this was a successful day that brings together members of the optical profession for a wonderful casual and social occasion. Already we’re looking forward to next year’s event!
OAA QLD/NT division will kick off the end of year celebrations early in the festive season with Optometry’s Night of Nights on Saturday 17 November at Moda Portside in Hamilton. This annual celebration of the profession will also include the presentation of a number of prestigious awards as well as reunion celebrations for 5, 10, 20 and 30-year graduates of optometry.
Guests will be treated to an exciting evening of entertainment under the comedic and magical direction of ‘Nigel’, followed by dinner and dancing, while taking in the gorgeous sunset views across the Brisbane River towards the city.
The Australian Vision Convention (AVC) 2013 program will also be officially launched. Optometrists, exhibitors, partners and families from across Australia and throughout the world are invited to attend the annual AVC on the Gold Coast, which is proudly sponsored by Essilor Australia.
AVC 2013 promises to offer delegates a smorgasbord of educational and social activities with a number of new and exciting opportunities designed to tempt all in attendance. We have a superb clinical program planned with a number of key speakers from across the globe, the Johnson & Johnson Dual Stream on Saturday 6 April and complimentary optional assessment for additional CPD points. On Friday 5 April a trade stage will be introduced with exhibitor demonstrations.
As always, the great support of our sponsors makes AVC a success. We would like to thank our major sponsor Essilor Australia for their continuing support, silver sponsors Alcon Vision Care, Abbott Medical Optics, Carl Zeiss Australia and Johnson & Johnson, and supporting sponsors mivision, Mondottica and
Full delegate registration includes an entertaining welcome reception, exclusive gala dinner at Movie World, breakfast sessions each day and a complimentary crèche.
Secure your spot at AVC today. Register online or contact us for a registration form (AUS) 07 3839 4411, via email [email protected] or visit www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland for more information.
Plans are being finalised for Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress TLC IX, which will be held in Hobart from 23-25 August 2013. TLC IX will celebrate the centenary of the passing of the first legislation in the British Commonwealth to regulate optometry. On 5 December 1913 the Tasmanian Parliament passed “an Act to secure the better training of opticians, to regulate their practice and for other purposes”. This land mark legislation was followed by similar Acts in other jurisdictions: Queensland in 1917; South Australia (1920); New Zealand (1928); New South Wales (1930); Victoria (1935); Western Australia (1940); ACT (1956); and the UK in 1960.
Keynote speakers at TLC IX will be visiting American lecturers Prof. Joseph Sowka and Dr. Lori Vollmer. CPD Director Andrew Hogan has advised that the TLC program will again have sufficient CPD points to meet the OBA’s requirements.
Board Meeting Update
At a recent Board meeting, Tasmanian President Karen Garner reported that although the number of registrations for TLC VIII in 2012 was down slightly on the previous year’s record, the annual Congress produced its best financial return yet. Inaugural Tasmanian Optometry Foundation Awardees Daryl Guest and Tim Powell reported on their studies undertaken during the year. Daryl Guest on “the assessment and removal of simple lid lesions” following his study tour to America. Tim Powell reported on his study, “eye care in residential aged care facilities in Tasmania”.
Please note the amended date for TLC IX is one week earlier than previously announced.
Tasmanian Optometry Foundation Awards
During TLC VIII Chris Dobson, Chairman of the Tasmanian Optometry Foundation, announced the winners of the 2012 scholarships. Michael Knipe will undertake a study of “hospital optometry” throughout Australia and recommend suitable models for hospitals in Northern and North West Tasmania. Paul Graveson will conduct a literature review of current concepts and studies regarding vision loss, contrast sensitivity loss and the psychophysics of reading and associated rehabilitation strategies. Scott Taylor has been awarded funds to assist him to gain a therapeutic qualification from the University of NSW. Applications for the 2013 awards will open in March. The closing date is 30 June 2013.
Brian Sims Awarded Life Membership
At the Tasmanian Division’s Annual General Meeting held during TLC, retired optometrist Brian Sims was awarded life membership. Brian joins John Rees as the Division’s only two living life members. Brian emigrated from England to join former optometrist and association life member, the late Ken Iredale at a practice in Hobart, where he specialised in low vision and quality service to patients. In 1973 Brian was one of the instigators of the low vision clinic within the eye clinic at the Royal Hobart Hospital. In 1976 Brian was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study low vision consultation techniques and clinic structure in the UK and USA. In 2006 he was recognised for his many years of dedicated service to optometry and low vision services when he was made a member of the Order of Australia.