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HomemioptometryOn the Ground Working with Members

On the Ground Working with Members

Regular engagement with members is enabling Optometry Victoria South Australia (OV/SA) to respond to needs with new initiatives that better support operations and improve patient outcomes.

At the heart of our work is a commitment to supporting OV/SA members on the ground. By this, I mean that we are committed to understanding the challenges and opportunities our members face in their day-to-day work, and to developing initiatives that are responsive to their needs. We recognise that every optometry practice is unique, and that the needs of our members can vary, depending on factors like the size and location of their practice, the patient population they serve, and the stage of their career.

Planning is currently underway for a proposed operational integration of OV/SA with Optometry Australia (OA). Optometry Tasmania (OTas) is working on a similar proposal

To provide effective support, we regularly consult with our members through face-to-face meetings, surveys and other mechanisms. This feedback drives the development of initiatives and resources that are tailored to our members’ needs.

One example of this approach is the front of house resource that we are currently developing. This resource is a direct response to member concerns about recruiting front of house staff.

We know these roles are critical to the success of a practice, and that there are often difficulties finding the right people for these positions. We also recognise that the term ‘retail’ doesn’t reflect the important work that front of house staff do in our practices.

This new package of materials provides guidance and tips for recruiting, onboarding, and managing these staff, using language that better reflects the nature of these roles. We are currently testing this resource with members and their networks; we’ve received positive feedback so far. We look forward to making this valuable tool available more widely soon.

We’ve also been consulting with members about the needs of mid-career optometrists. We know that many optometrists who have been practising for 10 to 15 years face unique challenges and it is our responsibility to better understand what these are. We have completed one face-to-face regional consultation at the time of print, and had a discussion with our Victorian and South Australian State Advisory Committee. We believe that this work will be an important part of our efforts to support the ongoing success and sustainability of our profession.

Integrating Operations with Optometry Australia

Planning is currently underway for a proposed operational integration of OV/SA with Optometry Australia (OA). Optometry Tasmania (OTas) is working on a similar proposal to put to their members. The model under development will see all services delivered by OA and monitored by the state boards for OV/SA and OTas, which will remain the respective representatives for their members. Members of OV/SA and OTas will be asked to vote on the model in July and August respectively.

The new model will see OA continuing to provide members nationally with access to its full range of services. The new, integrated structure will also deliver local member engagement, face-to-face CPD, advocacy, and stakeholder engagement in Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. We will continue to ask ourselves how to best support members to translate evidence into practise.

O=MEGA23/WCO

Finally, a key and exciting area of focus remains the upcoming O=MEGA23/WCO conference in partnership with ODMA and the World Council of Optometry. This is the first time we have tried a ‘call for abstracts’ process for our major event (O=MEGA) and we were thrilled by the volume of high-quality applications that were submitted from around the world, along with a strong local contingent. By having multiple streams, delegates will be able to target their learning according to their needs. Of course, they’ll also be able to catch up with friends and make new connections. And we will have a large poster program alongside the fabulous Trade Fair. The full program has now been released and is available at www.omega-event.org.

I feel truly excited about the huge work taking place within our profession in 2023, and the potential for these projects to make a real difference to our members and, therefore, the broader community. We encourage all our members to get involved in these initiatives and to stay connected with OV/SA to take advantage of the resources and support we offer. Together, we can build a stronger, more successful, and more sustainable profession.

Ilsa Hampton is the Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Victoria South Australia.