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Important Information - January 2014
In May 2013, the Board advised that the Ministry was calling for applications for four Board positions which were due for re/appointment – two optometrist positions, one dispensing optician, and one lay person position.
The Board has been advised that the Minister of Health has considered all applications received and his selections for the Board are to go to the Appointment and Honours Committee shortly. The Board hopes to have persons appointed or reappointed to these positions before the end of February 2014.
Optometrist, Richard Lobb’s term on the Board ended in August 2013 following his decision not to apply for reappointment. Richard was appointed to the Board in August 2007. He has since served two 3-year terms, as well as having kindly agreed to extend his term by a further three months, to November 2013, to reduce the impact on other Board members while awaiting the appointment of his successor. The Board would like to thank Richard for his significant and valuable contributions and unwavering dedication to his work for the Board. In particular, he is acknowledged for his hard work and strong leadership, first as Deputy Chair of the Board in 2010 and then as Chair of the Board from February 2011 to February 2013. The Board underwent significant change, including down-sizing and new standard and policy implementation, as well as continuing to transition towards a governance model of operation during this time, and Richard ably navigated the Board through this time with strength and efficiency. The Board thanks Richard and wishes him all the very best for the future.
The Board was very pleased to have a presence at the two association conferences held in Wellington at the end of 2013. This was an invaluable opportunity to meet practitioners, receive feedback, and answer queries about the Board’s processes. We hope that this will become a regular occurrence and look forward to engaging openly with practitioners at these sorts of events.
The Board is pleased to advise that the Medicines Amendment Bill passed its third reading in parliament on the 19th of November and received the Royal Assent by the Governor-General on the 4th of December 2013. It is now known as the Medicines Amendment Act 2013.
The provisions in the Act relating to optometrist prescribing come into effect from 1 July 2014 unless an earlier date is appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council. The Board will keep practitioners and stakeholders apprised of any changes to the commencement date. In the meantime, TPA optometrists must continue to prescribe only those prescription medicines permitted under the Medicines (Designated Prescriber: Optometrists) Regulations 2005. Click here to view a list of these medicines.
Following on from the item above, the Board received 11 submissions on the Board’s second consultation on draft guidelines for optometrists for prescribing in glaucoma; five from interested organisations and six from individual practitioners. Thank you to those who made a submission. A summary of these submissions can be found by clicking here.
After careful consideration of the submissions received, the Board is in the process of confirming approval of some minor revisions to the document and the final document will be published in the near future.
Do you know of a colleague with a health problem that may be starting to affect their work?
Or perhaps someone whose practice of optometry or dispensing has declined in recent years and who may no longer be providing a safe standard of care?
Or even someone who may be registered and practising without a current APC?
As health practitioners, you have a duty to intervene to stop unsafe, incompetent, unethical or unlawful practice. Health consumers are relying on you to take appropriate actions necessary, or to report to an appropriate person or organisation, when their safety is being placed at risk.
In a recent meeting with the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Board was encouraged to foster openness with peers and consumers and to be active about talking with practitioners when concerns have been raised. This does not necessarily mean action will be taken, but simply means that for the safety of the public, the Board will make enquiries into the concerns raised.
With this in mind, the Board’s Registrar is happy to have a confidential ‘no names’ telephone discussion with anyone who has concerns about another practitioner and is unsure of what to do. Simply talking through your concerns with a third party may help you decide what to do. The Registrar can be reached on 04 474 0705.
The Board’s Registrar receives regular enquiries from practitioners about what their legal obligations are around retention and release of patient information. Click here to view the common enquiries made and the answers to them.
The Board also has a Statement on the release and receipt of patient information which contains other useful information about the Privacy Act and practitioner obligations and responsibilities. Click here to view this statement.
It was recently brought to the Board’s attention that District Health Boards (DHBs) often struggle to locate a practitioner's correct or most up-to-date work address when responding to referrals, which could potentially cause delays in patient care.
As work contact information for optometrists and dispensing opticians is already displayed on the website Register for most practitioners, the Board believes it can assist with this issue by regularly providing DHBs with an up-to-date file consisting of the names and up-to-date work addresses of its registered practitioners which can then be imported to update DHB records.
Authority to disclose this information for this purpose will be requested from each practitioner via their 2014/15 APC renewal notice (to be sent out shortly). If you have any queries about this on receiving your APC renewal notice, please contact the Registrar on 04 474 0705 or email Lindsey.Riley@odob.health.nz
* If the Board already has instruction from you that you wish your work contact information to remain confidential, this will be honoured.
The Board understands that there are a number of optometrists who have completed the training to become registered Quit card providers, enabling them to provide people who smoke with access to subsidised Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).
The Board has recently received confirmation from Quitline that optometrists who are registered Quit card providers must use the generic prescription ID provided by Quitline rather than their optometrist registration number when prescribing Nicotine products. If you are one of these optometrists and you do not have a record of this generic prescription ID, please contact Quitline for further information.
If you are registered with the Board and are going on maternity leave part-way through the practising year, please ensure that prior to doing so you contact the Board and return your APC. You should also contact the NZAO or ADONZ as appropriate, so they can note their CPD records.
In addition, to make returning to practise in the future more straightforward, if at all possible, you should ensure that your CPD is up to date at the time you go on leave.
If you are returning from maternity leave during a practising year, please contact the Registrar on 04 474 0705 for instructions on how to apply for a practising certificate part-way through the year.
HealthPAC, a business unit within the Ministry of Health, provides the Board with quarterly data about all subsidised medicines prescribed by optometrists. The Board uses this information to review prescribing practices and ensure that optometrists are prescribing safely.
Over the last 12 months, the Board has observed an increase in the number of data entries in the reports where the optometrist’s registration ID is incomplete. This prevents the Board from making enquiries with the optometrist about their prescribing and following up any concerning practices.
The Board asks that optometrist prescribers take extra care when writing or printing an electronic prescription to ensure that their registration ID is clearly marked on the prescription. This will assist the pharmacy in entering the prescription data and will ensure the Board can make any enquiries necessary at a later date.
A similar message regarding taking extra care when entering information is also being communicated to pharmacists on behalf of the Board by the Pharmacy Council.
At the time of distribution, the following optometrists and dispensing opticians have lost touch with the Board. These optometrists and dispensing opticians held Annual Practising Certificates (APCs) for the 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 practising year but did not renew their APC nor have they informed the Board of their whereabouts for the current practising year.
The HPCA Act requires that optometrists and dispensing opticians keep the Board updated as to their postal, residential and workplace addresses. If you know how the Board can get in touch with the following optometrists and dispensing opticians we would appreciate your assistance. Please get in contact with the Board or ask the optometrists and dispensing opticians to contact the Board as soon as possible.
Mrs Kelly Anne Aspin
Mrs Jasmina Bacic
Mr Mark Alistair Campbell
Mr Steven Roper
Mr Chih-Huang Yang
Mrs Hsiao Lan Chan
Mr Niall Patrick Donnelly
Ms Tracey Maree Gauld
Mr Stephen McGlinchey
Dr Bhagwant Singh Purba
Miss Sae Kyung Shin
Miss Adeline Ashika Devi Singh
Mr Michael Ming Feng Yen
The Board has been exploring the benefits of establishing a single shared secretariat (SSO) with the other 15 health regulatory authorities (RAs) with the aim of delivering improved regulatory outcomes.
The Steering Group for this work appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to work on a Detailed Business Case (DBC) to detail the case for change and to identify the benefits and costs that would be involved in establishing a single shared secretariat inclusive of all regulatory functions. This work is now complete and the DBC has been considered by the 16 RAs.
The Board considered the DBC at its May 2013 meeting and agreed to participate in further enquiries into implementing a SSO and to progress to consultation with staff and stakeholders. However, subsequent to the Board’s meeting, the Medical Council has advised all RAs that it will not be participating in further enquiries into implementing a SSO due to the significant risks it believes are posed to the Medical Council if implemented. These risks include: potential loss of institutional knowledge, Council financial reserves, and organisational autonomy and flexibility.
As a result of this, a number of other RAs also expressed concerns about risk and it was decided that the SSO proposal would no longer proceed, as the model (and particularly the funding of it) was contingent on all 16 RAs participating. The 16 RA Chairs have since agreed that they will now look into a SSO for back office functions only and are currently focussing their attention on the rationalisation of IT, finance, payroll, recruitment and purchasing functions.
The Board’s Annual Report for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 is now available on the Board’s website. Click here to view a copy of the report.
The Board welcomes feedback and enquiries on its standards, policies, and processes at any time. If you would like to make an enquiry or submit feedback, please feel free to email the Board’s Registrar, Lindsey Riley, at Lindsey.Riley@odob.health.nz at any time.