Six key recommendations to ensure optometrists are able to work to their full scope of practice, and evolve their scope to meet the needs of their communities have been articulated in a policy plan launched by Optometry Australia.
According to the Association, the aim of the platform, titled Working Together for Better Eye Care is “to remind government, the vision sector and consumers about Australia’s serious eye health challenges and their impact on individuals and the broader community, and to recommend practical ways in which these issues can be tackled by working together with a renewed sense of urgency and genuine collaboration”.
the aim of the platform… is to recommend practical ways in which these issues can be tackled by working together with a renewed sense of urgency and genuine collaboration
Working Together for Better Eye Care articulates the following “readily achievable actions” which were originally outlined in the Associations new Shared Strategic Plan for 2021-2024:
1. Integrate successful collaborative care models between ophthalmologists and optometrists into the mainstream health system for patients with stable glaucoma, pre and post-operative cataracts, paediatric eye care and early-stage diabetic retinopathy.
2. Permit optometrists to prescribe oral medications for eye health conditions.
3. Develop and pilot models of care that utilise optometrists to enhance access for patients requiring intravitreal injections for AMD and DMO, starting in outer metropolitan areas and regional, rural and remote communities.
4. Develop a national strategy to ensure that people with diabetes receive eye examinations from their optometrists to enable the early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
5. Implement consistent ophthalmology referral guidelines, templates and pathways for common eye health conditions, with a facilitated transition to electronic referrals.
6. Introduce telehealth MBS items for brief optometry consults where face-to-face visits are impractical and to enable ophthalmology reports and advice to be relayed to patients.
In a letter to Association members, Darrell Baker, National President of Optometry Australia, highlighted the critical role optometrists play in Australia’s health care, performing 10 million eye checks annually. He said although optometrists “are appropriately the first port of call for 80% of people… their skills are seriously under-utilised compared to our counterparts in similar developed nations”.
Find Out More
Members are invited to attend an interactive chat session to discuss the Association’s policy platform and strategic plan. At the meeting, key initiatives outlined in Working Together for Better Eye Care will be explained in more detail and members will be able to ask questions on these programs and on the new Shared Strategic Plan for 2021-2024.
When: Monday 2 August 2021
Time: 7:00pm AEST
Register here to attend.