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HomemioptometryIntegrating Associations for a Stronger Profession

Integrating Associations for a Stronger Profession

Optometry Tasmania is calling on members to vote ‘yes’ for operational integration with Optometry Australia. Jonathan Jones explains how your vote will make a difference.

Optometry Tasmania’s (OTas) discussions about the possibility of operational integration with Optometry Australia (OA) continue to gain momentum. Rather than an OTas /OA merger, operational integration will see the OTas board retain its role as the representative body for Tasmanian members.

I encourage members to vote ‘yes’ for integration with OA

However, all services will be delivered by OA and monitored by the OTas board. This new model will see OA well resourced to continue to provide access to its full range of services to all members across the country. In Tasmania, it will deliver local member engagement, face-to-face continuing professional development (CPD), advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. No major assets will be transferred, and services will be integrated and evolved over time, ensuring maximum value for members.

The intended benefits of the integration include:
• A strong and aligned strategic focus, more efficiently positioned to identify and prioritise critical issues affecting our sector,
• A more cohesive and effective advocacy approach through a single voice,
• A strengthened, strategically-positioned voice for optometrists,
• A simplified governance, organisational, and operational structure, enabling us to streamline our decision-making processes, reduce duplication, and create greater efficiencies,
• Greater long-term financial stability and resources to fund future strategies and projects,
• Reduced confusion for our other stakeholders, such as heads of ophthalmology and patient advocacy groups, which will enhance our influence, and
• Maximised member engagement, achieved by connecting with members in meaningful ways, continuing to create opportunities for networking, professional development, and collaboration at the local and national level.

To explain the proposed operational integration, we held a member update in Launceston on 7 June, and another is planned for Hobart on 4 July. Additionally, we have sought feedback on the proposal. A service level agreement has been drafted, together with the required legal and financial due diligence work.

OTas members will decide whether the integration occurs and will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed change. The member vote will occur at our Annual General Meeting on 5 August. I encourage members to vote ‘yes’ for integration with OA, so that implementation can be completed by 1 November 2023.

TLC: 5–6 August 2023

The Tasmanian Lifestyle Congress (TLC) website is now live with conference details and registration. The conference is being held in Hobart and our conference dinner, on Saturday 5 August, is complementary with full registration. The CooperVision Breakfast will, once again, be held on the Sunday morning of the program.

TLC is a great opportunity for delegates to receive most of their required CPD points in one event. There are many therapeutic points on offer.

Our keynote speaker this year is Dr Kate Gifford who will present two lectures on paediatric eye care.

In ‘Four steps to best-practice children’s vision care’, Dr Gifford will combine the latest science with clinical translation and practical advice to increase your skills and confidence in managing children. This lecture will be focussed on achieving an accurate refraction, measuring binocular vision, fitting kids with contact lenses, and prescribing for myopia control. Each of the four steps will include the ‘why’ (a research review) and the ‘how’ (practical steps to take) to support application to clinical practice.

In ‘The full view on myopia management’, Dr Gifford will present on clinical, scientific, and practical aspects of applying myopia management in practice. With a strong focus on providing tips for clinical communication, she will cover:
• The short- and long-term benefits,
• A comparison of all available treatments,
• Prescribing pathways,
• When to start and stop treatment, and
• How to determine successful outcomes.

Dr Gifford will also provide tips for setting up practice systems and advise you on where to obtain freely available, evidence-based resources to help you in your practice and to provide as educational materials for parents, carers, and patients with myopia.

We expect this year’s conference to be popular, so register early. Details are available on the conference website: taslifestylecongress.com.au. We hope to see you at TLC.

Jonathan Jones is the Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Tasmania.