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Friday / August 12.
HomemioptometryRevealing the Hidden Benefits of Association Membership

Revealing the Hidden Benefits of Association Membership

Working in partnership with Optometry Australia (OA), Optometry Victoria South Australia (OV/SA) has delivered critical benefits to support and drive the profession for members.

If you’re a member of an association, you may have noticed a few more emails in your inbox in the last few months. That’s because this is typically the time of year when membership renewal happens.

Not only do our members get the amazing benefits of services provided by OA… this year we have delivered an additional 493 benefits to our members at a state level

The association for optometrists working in Victoria and South Australia – OV/ SA – has already had a promising take up from this year’s membership renewal drive. I believe this is because we really are offering great value for money. Not only do our members get the amazing benefits of services provided by OA, optometry’s national body, this year we have delivered an additional 493 benefits to our members at a divisional level. We support 88% of the optometrists in our two states who are registered members of the Australian Health Practitioners’ Regulation Agency.

Last financial year alone, we put on 31 events, formed a charity partnership with Sight For All, ran two advocacy campaigns, wrote 22 letters and emails to government, published 306 news updates, created a member resource for optometrists wanting to go on parental leave, and made 129 unique connections with members. And of course, the amazing professional indemnity insurance package, handled by our national team, was maintained.

OV/SA’s calendar of events also demonstrates how busy we’ve been meeting the needs of members with free and subsidised CPD events. It was exciting in July to host SRC Mini: Melbourne, our first opportunity to get together with colleagues for a conference-sized event in two years. In November, South Australians will get the opportunity to network and get their CPD when we host Blue Sky.

Across the year, we are delivering a host of events for students and new graduates to ease them into the profession, including visiting them at university with employers looking for staff as part of our careers expos. We have also tailored events for our early career optometrists. Run by a dedicated group of optometrists who are less than 10 years out from graduation, these events include insightful seminars, as well as peer-mentoring dinners, which help members in regional areas connect and address feelings of isolation in their first years.

We were thrilled to win the competitive bid to host the next World Congress of Optometry, which will be held in Melbourne in 2023. This event is already in the planning stages, and we are positive it will help put Australian optometry on the international map. The event is being held in partnership with ODMA’s eye care and eye wear trade fair, and our own highly regarded biennial national optometry conference, O=MEGA23.

With so many events going on, you could be forgiven for thinking this is all OV/SA does. However, our advocacy work and invaluable COVID-19 updates continue to be a hugely important part of our offering. Throughout both Victoria’s long lockdowns and South Australia’s fast changing vaccine and mask mandates, we have called on the Chief Allied Health Officers in each state to clarify complex and often confusing rules for optometrists.

On top of that, our advocacy team continues to support the work and perception of optometrists. In South Australia, public ophthalmology eye care wait times are astoundingly high, so ahead of the South Australian election we made it our mission to put the issue on the agenda and we continue to work with local stakeholders to progress the contribution optometry can make in this space.

Indeed, the OV/SA team contacted and met with political leaders to make the issue known, highlighting the work of the Modbury Hospital optometry pilot. This project, which was run in 2019 and 2020, saw optometrists triage wait lists for public ophthalmology appointments, a process which reduced wait times by between 40-60%.

OV/SA operates as part of a federated structure with four other divisions across Australia that are all part of our national body, OA. Thinking of becoming an association member? Visit oa.optometry.org.au for more information.

Ilsa Hampton is the Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Victoria South Australia. The association, which formed as a Victorian body in 1911 and as a South Australian body in 1913, amalgamated in 2019.

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