Optometry Australia has defended its new charges for administered CPD in the face of criticism by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO).
RANZCO President Dr. Brad Horsburgh said ophthalmologists who provided CPD to optometrists were doing so to build on optometrists’ knowledge for the ultimate benefit of the patient. He said ophthalmologists did not expect any financial gain from CPD offered to optometrists although they may hope to receive patient referrals.
Dr. Horsburgh said “the Federal RANZCO board had recommended that ophthalmologists do not pay any fees to provide CPD lectures to optometrists.
“We think this is utterly inappropriate and flies in the face of a tradition of teaching which stretches back more than 100 years,” said Dr. Horsburgh.
the Federal RANZCO board had recommended that ophthalmologists do not pay any fees to provide CPD lectures to optometrists
“Ophthalmologists teach ophthalmology registrars. Registrars teach junior house officers. Junior house officers teach medical students. This is an integral part of the culture of medicine.”
Genevieve Quilty, CEO of Optometry Australia said the new fees were levied as part of the Association’s response to an expression of interest process released by the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) to administer CPD accreditation and auditing services for the profession of optometry put out in 2013 by the OBA.
“The OBA’s requirements released as part of the public Expression of Interest process were met – cost recovery charges were permitted; our response to the Expression of Interest process was based on the development of a business model inclusive of cost recovery based fees for accreditation and auditing services,” said Ms. Quilty.
“We established Eye on CPD as a business unit to manage CPD accreditation and with the aim of providing the highest level of accreditation and auditing functions. We have some very good optometrists working with us who, in some cases, improve the outcomes of CPD courses that are submitted as part of the accreditation processes. If a provider’s course does not meet the established criteria, we work collaboratively with the provider to facilitate a very good outcome, ensuring the CPD proposed meets the standards set by the Optometry Board of Australia.”
Ms. Quilty said as a small organisation of around 4,500 members, faced with an increasing volume of CPD providers seeking accreditation, the previous system was not sustainable for Optometry Australia. This was announced by Optometry Australia at the time it was awarded the program administrator role, in late November 2014.
She said RANZCO was not the first to question the charges, and that once the reasons for the charges had been carefully explained, other CPD providers had generally decided it was fair.
“Optometrists are required as part of their registration to undertake CPD and this can be made up of accredited and nonaccredited CPD points – these rules are set by the Optometry Board of Australia. CPD providers can avoid paying the administration fee if they choose to offer a non-accredited course,” she said adding that optometrists generally prefer accredited education as this necessitated less paperwork in order to acquire CPD points and the assurance that the course or conference has already been assessed (on paper) to comply with the CPD standards set by the Optometry Board of Australia.
Ms. Quilty said she would welcome a discussion with Dr. Horsburgh.