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HomemioptometryOptometry Reports Dec 2013

Optometry Reports Dec 2013

Comment from our Australian Optometry Associations.


Andrew McKinnon

By the time you read this it will be December and Christmas will be just around the corner. I hope that everyone is having a fabulously busy time, followed by at least a few days of rest!

On behalf of everyone at the OAA NSW/ACT Division I hope that all our members and friends have a terrific Christmas and New Year and we look forward to being of service to you again.

Our new website also links to our Technology Forum… to help you make important decisions about equipping your practice for the future

Merry Christmas to you all – 2014 is looking pretty good!


Terri Smith

Each week we speak with a range of our members about all sorts of matters in optometry practice. It’s an important part of the service we offer to members: to be able to talk to someone, one-on-one for advice or information. It may be a question relating to employment or career, a patient matter, health records, CPD and registration, standards and guidelines, or Medicare. If we can’t answer it straight away, we can definitely do the research or point you in the right direction for further information. Our upgraded website, part of a new website which aims to more effectively integrate State and national content, also contains answers to common questions, as well as resources you may use in your day to day practice.

Our new website also links to our Technology Forum, where you can go to get expert advice from colleagues to help you make important decisions about equipping your practice for the future.

On the front page of our website (www.optometrists.asn.au), you can also link to our Operation GP page. Regular readers of Scope and the OAA e-bulletin will know we have been particularly focused this year on boosting knowledge about optometry and eye care among GPs. We have included features about members with successful models for networking with GPs, resources, information sheets and referral forms, and information about Medicare Locals. As these locally-based networks of medical and allied health practitioners have developed in the two years following their introduction, we have become aware of more members becoming involved, or wanting to get involved, whether on Medicare Local Boards, through special interest groups, or just signing on to receive information about developments in health in their local area. Check out what we have, or let us know what you are currently doing.

We also have a number of members involved in a unique clinical placements arrangement with the Austin Hospital, where medical students spend some time in an optometry practice, seeing first-hand what it’s all about. We are delighted to hear their surprise at the scope of practice and knowledge our members have. We trust they are taking back great messages for colleagues and their future patients about what they are seeing.

If you want to know anything more about the above, have a specific query we can help with, or would like to let us know about how you are working in your local community to promote knowledge of optometry and eye care with GPs, please give us a call on (AUS) 03 9652 9100.


Cristy Ross

As the sun sets on yet another year and the holiday season approaches fast, we’d like to thank everyone for their continued support across 2013. As we look forward to the future, our reflection on the past allows us the opportunity to consider new ways to deliver on the strategic goals and objectives of the division in line with the national direction of the Association.

As a result of your feedback this year, our approach to delivering conferencing and events options into 2014 and more importantly 2015 is sure to see modifications. It’s time to change things up a bit and get re-ignite excitement in our exhibitions and CPD. Thank you for providing feedback on this, which we hope will see you continue to support us in the future.

Referal Pathways
Our efforts to reduce public hospital waiting lists and improve referral pathways has seen some wins this year with changes to referral processes as far north as Cairns, west to Toowoomba and south to the Gold Coast. A number of hospitals and/or health services have implemented or are trialing new requirements, which only accept referrals from optometrists as opposed to GPs in the interest of better managing the demand in eye clinics. We would like to thank those who may have experienced an increase in referrals from GPs as a result. Your efforts are appreciated and ensure a more timely diagnosis for patients.

Clinical Placements
In more recent news a trial between a number of Brisbane based optometry practices and University of Queensland (UQ) medical students, undertaking their clinical placements in September this year, has resulted in the community placement program being implemented on a more permanent basis from 2014. This is a great achievement in our bid to engage with GPs in the future, with approximately 250 med students per year experiencing the extensive scope of practice of optometrists first-hand.

In other exciting news we also formally recognised the outstanding efforts of young optometrists for the first time, by awarding one high achiever the Young Optometrist of the Year Award at this year’s VISIONaries past, present & future: Optometry’s Night of Nights event.

AVC 2015
New plans for Australian Vision Convention are well underway, with 2015 set to deliver exciting new opportunities for loyal participants and supporters. We will again review our strategic goals and objectives, continue the roll out of branch meetings across the division, deliver another successful North Queensland Vision in Cairns and further develop our relationships with health care professionals in light of improved referral pathways and ultimately the provision of better eye health for all Australians.

With your continued support, I am confident we will continue to achieve our strategic goals and objectives as we work together into 2014 and beyond. Change, although challenging, can also be rewarding, so stay tuned as we deliver new ideas developed in consultation with your feedback over the past 12 months.

On behalf of OAA Qld/NT Division President David Foresto and our Board of Directors, I wish happy holiday tidings to our Queensland and Northern Territory members and mivision readers across the country. Best wishes for a peaceful and safe Christmas/New Year period.


Tony Martella

It’s been a whirlwind year at the WA division and it’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of it. Over the past 12 months we’ve worked to build professional relationships between our members, primary and allied healthcare providers, we’ve advised members on practice issues concerning growth and development, provided ongoing eye health for homeless and disadvantaged people as well as initiated the spectacle recycling program with Acacia Prison.

We’ve introduced several prospective employees to new practices and we’ve presented the career advantages that come with practising optometry in Western Australia to university students throughout the country. Plus we’ve hosted numerous educational programs, including the WAVE conference, our annual major education event for the profession. The implementation of the new national membership database and WA website were also major initiatives that we undertook and these have already begun to streamline and improve our administrative efforts.

In 2014 WAVE will be held from 16–17 August at the Pan Pacific Hotel Perth. The program of events for WAVE will be released before Christmas, providing plenty of time for you to plan your visit. We’ve once again got some excellent new speakers and topics lined up, along with several long-standing professionals in the field, so watch this space – I have no doubt you’ll be impressed.

As I close off my column for the year, I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to our Division’s achievements by offering time, expertise and support.

Thank you to our suppliers and industry partners for their support and commitment with our events and educational sessions. Thanks also to our board and our board’s President, Darrell Baker for their ongoing commitment over the course of the year.

The team at OAA National has once again done another wonderful job in not only supporting this Division but the profession as a whole. Thanks to Genevieve Quilty and each of the hard working and dedicated staff at OAA National Office.

And thanks to the team at mivision for their continued support.

Most importantly, thank you to our members for choosing to support the Association as a collective. In doing so, you enable us to continue to represent all in the profession who believe in the ethos of working together and remaining strong as a profession. By doing this we all can help maintain the highest standard of community and professional care possible.

In 2014 the WA division will continue to support our members with strong advocacy, advice, education and support.

In the meantime, I wish you a very healthy and happy Christmas, and a successful start to the New Year.


Libby Boschen

The current challenge in the High Court by the Australian government of the ACT’s new gay marriage legislation reminds of the peculiarities of this crazy federated country which, though I have come to love much about my adopted home, drives me loopy at times! The increase in the national consistency of legislation in recent years has made the identification of optometry’s legal responsibilities a little easier, but the various jurisdictions can’t resist putting their oar in by developing local legislative nuances, which we have to keep track of.

With this in mind, it is no surprise that in the past 12 months I have noticed a significant increase in the number of members contacting the Association for information and advice. Nothing seems to be black and white anymore and even if it is, the copious amount of research required to find the answer is time-consuming and arduous. Research to find the details of your professional legal responsibilities is not something you can pick away at between patients (because you can guarantee the web browser will go to sleep or you’ll lose a half-completed online form). So do you save it for your day off (whoopee) or head out to do something fun with friends instead? Even if you find what you are looking for after trawling the net, or being passed from department to department, rarely is the information in an easily digestible format to pick up and run with.

The obvious alternative, which many of you are now making the most of, is to concentrate on your patients, enjoy your relaxation time and to pick up the phone and ask your Association team to give you the answer! Hey this is one of the huge benefits of membership – you’d be daft not to milk it.

While you are experts in vision and eye health, the Association team members are experts in all of that behind-the-scenes legislation, along with the supporting resources and information our members might need to make their life easier. Not only that, we live in the pockets of the policy decision makers in governments, so we’re invariably the first to know – though more likely than not (as the official peak body representing Australian optometrists has stated in the legislation) – we will have contributed to anything under development even before it becomes news. If you’re in a fix, we know the right people to call to iron out the issue if it is possible.

Sometimes members who call aren’t seeking specific answers, but are increasingly in need of a sounding
board – someone with whom they can discuss their concerns or challenges. Here I guess we act more as a professional coach and facilitate our members in coming to their own conclusions. Optometry can be a very isolated profession and you don’t always want to discuss something that’s bugging you with your staff, colleagues or your boss. Calling your Associationfor a confidential chat is a great option and we always love to hear from you.

So remember, whether it be driving vision standards, child safety compliance, optical prescriptions, consumer law or your workplace rights, your Association team is here at your service, waiting to pick up the phone with a friendly jibe about the cricket score (if you care), as well as the expertise you are seeking.


Geoff Squibb

The Tasmanian Division will conduct its first residential CPD workshop at Cradle Mountain from 21–23 March 2014. The workshops will focus on glaucoma and paediatric optometry, and the main speakers for the weekend will be Melbourne ophthalmologist Dr. Jonathan Ruddle and Victorian optometrist Tim Fricke.

The weekend will provide 22.5 CPD points as well as plenty of time to explore and enjoy Cradle Mountain’s renowned flora, fauna and tracks. Cradle Mountain is the gateway to Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness area and in autumn highlights the delightful colours of the native fagus, Australia’s only winter deciduous tree that is unique to Tasmania. With Cradle Mountain’s weather so unpredictable it may also be possible to witness an early snowfall. In any case it will be a photographer’s paradise and a great weekend of learning and fellowship. The Cradle Workshops follow a very successful TLC, which was hosted by the Tasmanian division last August.

Member Enquiries

Contact: Andrew McKinnon CEO
P: 02 9712 2199
E: andrew@oaansw.com.au
W: www.oaansw.com.au

Contact: Terri Smith CEO
P: 03 9652 9100
E: tsmith@vicoptom.asn.au
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/victoria

Contact: Ms. Cristy Ross CEO
P: 07 3839 4411
E: c.ross@optometrists.asn.au
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland

Contact: Tony Martella CEO
P: 08 9321 2300
E: eo@optometrywa.org.au
W: www.optometrywa.org.au

Contact: Ms. Libby Boschen CEO
P: 08 8338 3100
E: l.boschen@optometrists.asn.au
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/southaustralia

Contact: Geoff Squibb CEO
P: 03 6224 3360
E: optometristsasn.tas@bigpond.com
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/tasmania

Contact: Grant Firth
P: (NZ) 04 473 2322
E: nzaoadmin@nzao.co.nz
W: www.nzao.co.nz


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