Optometrists who are already registered with the Board on 1 December 2014, who don’t hold an approved therapeutic qualification, are not required to undertake further study to maintain their registration. However they will have a notation stating ‘the optometrist is not qualified for endorsement for scheduled medicines and is not able to prescribe Schedule 4 medicines for the treatment of conditions of the eye’ added to their registration. The notation will appear on the public register and future registration certificates.
The notation does not affect the practitioner’s scope of practice and can be removed from their record on the completion of an approved postgraduate program in ocular therapeutics.
The new standard was approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council in 2012 and follows a change to the optometry courses of study, which include therapeutics as part of the undergraduate degree.
Practitioners who complete a Board-approved course in ocular therapeutics and successfully apply for endorsement will have this reflected on their registration, stating that they are ‘endorsed as qualified to obtain, possess, administer, prescribe or supply Schedule 2, 3 or 4 medicines for the treatment of conditions of the eye’.
Overseas applicants will be required to complete a period of limited registration to be eligible for general registration.
The new standard is published on www.optometryboard.gov.au under Registration standards.