Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board

Important Information - July 2014

Covered below:

  • Update on Board appointments
  • Professional Standards Advisor appointed
  • Update on Board fees
  • Update on Medicines Act Amendments
  • Discussion document on recertification for those working limited days per year in NZ or in non-traditional roles
  • Board presence at annual association conferences
  • Revised self-audit questionnaires for both professions
  • Update to CPD accreditation policies for both professions
  • Charges for CPD accreditation to take effect
  • Mauriora cultural competence course
  • Call for applications for Conduct and Competence Review Committee members
  • Feedback welcomed


Update on Board appointments

In March 2014, new appointments were made to the Board. Optometrist, Ross Tayler, and lay member, Irene Durham, have joined the Board, and lay member, Ruth Spelman’s term ended.

Ruth joined the Board in August 2007 and was elected to the position of Deputy Chair of the Board in 2011, a position she held until February 2014. In her time on the Board, Ruth made significant contributions as a lay member, demonstrating sound leadership and ensuring robust decision-making by the Board for the protection of the public. She also raised the profile of the Board among the other regulatory authorities, most notably by being nominated and appointed, along with a select few, to the leadership team appointed to work on the Detailed Business Case for establishing a shared secretariat. Ruth also made a significant contribution to the Board in identifying a need to review the Board’s communication style and make the Board more approachable. The Board thanks Ruth for her hard work and dedication to her role.

In addition to having new appointments to the Board, dispensing optician member, John Billings, and optometrist, Damian Koppens, were reappointed by the Minister for further terms.

Professional Standards Advisor appointed

The Board is very pleased to announce that optometrist, Nicola Anstice, has been appointed to the position of Professional Standards Advisor to the Board. You will recall that the Board advertised this newly created position in December 2013, and the Board received a number of outstanding applications for the role. Nicola was appointed to the role in late April 2014 and is already proving to be of great assistance to the Board.

Nicola is working part-time, approximately 1 day per week, supporting the Board by working with optometrists and dispensing opticians to ensure that Board-approved standards of clinical and cultural competence and ethical conduct are maintained.

Some of the key responsibilities of this position include:

  • assessing practitioner self-audit material and providing recommendations for feedback and management to the Board;
  • drafting terms of reference for competence reviews;
  • assisting with the implementation of competence programmes and the monitoring of practitioners working through competence programmes with the Board; and
  • considering applications for approval to independently manage glaucoma patients.

Update on Board fees

In November 2013, the Board consulted the professions and stakeholders on a proposal to remove the discipline levy for dispensing opticians and to leave all other fees unchanged for the practising year commencing 1 April 2014.

The Board received three submissions in response to the consultation and a brief summary of the comments and/or questions raised in these can be viewed by clicking here. The Board thanks those who sent in submissions.  

After careful consideration of the submissions received, the Board resolved to confirm the fees as proposed in the consultation document, for the reasons discussed. Should you wish to view the consultation document again, you can do so by clicking here.

Board fees were published in the New Zealand Gazette and came into force on 7 February 2014 and apply for the practising year that commenced on 1 April 2014. You can view a copy of the fees Gazette notice by clicking here.

Update on Medicines Act Amendments

The Board recently issued a special communication to all practitioners and stakeholders relating to the Medicines Amendment Act 2013 and the changes that took effect on 1 July 2014. If you missed this communication, you can view the relevant information by visiting the ‘TPA Prescribing’ page of the Board’s website. Click here to be taken to this page.

Discussion document on recertification for those working limited days per year in NZ or in non-traditional roles

The Board has received a number of requests from practitioners in the past 12 months requesting exemption from completing Board self audits and/or extensions for meeting the 2-year CPD requirements set by the Board. The reasons given for these requests generally relate to practitioners working only limited days in New Zealand each year or in non-traditional or training roles who find themselves unable to comply with the Board’s recertification programme requirements because they have more limited contact with patients day-to-day but still need to maintain their APC.

To date, the Board’s Professional Standards Committee has been managing instances of practitioners not being able to meet the Board’s requirements on a case-by case basis, but the Board wishes to look at whether there is a consistent, fair way these scenarios can be managed without compromising patient safety. The Board would appreciate receiving input on this from practitioners and stakeholders.

Please click here to view a discussion document on this issue and consider making a submission to the Board to share your thoughts on how these scenarios should be safely managed.

Board presence at annual association conferences

Representatives of the Board will be present at both upcoming Association conferences this year. Should you have a question or issue that you would like to raise with the Board, please feel free to approach Board representatives, who will be situated in the main foyer/registration area at the ADONZ and NZAO conferences. Board signage will be displayed to assist you in identifying whom to approach. Board representatives look forward to meeting some of you and answering any queries you might have.

Revised self-audit questionnaires for both professions

In response to feedback received from practitioners, the Board has recently reviewed the questions included in the Board’s self-audit questionnaires, as well as the background information and instructions provided with them.

For your information, the latest versions of the forms can be found on the Board’s website.

Click here to view the revised self-audit form for optometrists.

Click here to view the revised self-audit form for dispensing opticians.

The 2012-2014 accreditation cycle for optometrists ends in October this year.

Update to CPD accreditation policies for both professions

A number of updates have recently been made to the Board’s CPD accreditation policies for both optometrists and dispensing opticians. Please review the updated policies and re-familiarise yourself with them.

Click here for the CPD Accreditation Policy for Dispensing Opticians

Click here for the CPD Accreditation Policy for Optometrists

Charges for CPD accreditation to take effect

The two practitioner recertification processes have been in place for a number of years now, and the Board has refined its procedures for auditing of practitioners and also accreditation of activities eligible for credits. In line with this refinement, the Board wishes to advise that with effect from 1 October 2014 the Board will be charging its gazetted fees for both the accreditation of individual practitioner CPD dossiers as well as assessment of accreditation of online CPD activity. These fees have been in place for some time, but the Board has not charged them up until now as it wished to receive and assess a number of applications to ensure consistency of assessment, as well as the reasonableness of the fees for the work involved. The fees for such applications are $204.00 (incl. GST) for the assessment of individual practitioner CPD dossiers, and $60.00 per hour (incl. GST) for an application for assessment of online CPD activity.

Mauriora cultural competence course

One of the main functions of the Board is to set standards relating to cultural competence for the professions it regulates. Limited CPD is currently available on cultural competence, but one specific course available that the Board would like to recommend to practitioners is the online Foundation Course in Cultural Competency offered by Mauriora Associates. Information on the course can be found by visiting the following website – www.mauriora.co.nz

The Ministry of Health has now extended FREE access to this course until 30 January 2015.

The course is worth 1 general CPD credit.

Call for applications for Conduct and Competence Review Committee members

The Board is interested in recruiting additional practitioners to serve as professional conduct and competence review committee members when the need arises for a practitioner’s conduct to be investigated or competence to be assessed.

A Professional Conduct Committee is a committee of two practitioners and a lay person appointed to consider a complaint or other information (including convictions) referred to the Board which raises concerns about the appropriateness of the conduct of a health practitioner. The committee governs its own process and is independent of the Board. At the conclusion of its investigation it makes a determination and/or recommendation in line with section 80 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 and submits a report to the Board detailing its procedure and outcome. Investigations can run anywhere from 3 to 12 months, sometimes longer, depending on the complexity of the matter being considered. Business of the committee is usually transacted via email or teleconference, but there will be times when a committee needs to meet face-to-face, which may involve travel, particularly when interviewing people or meeting with lawyers.

A Competence Review Committee is similarly a committee of two practitioners and one lay person, but in contrast, this committee is referred matters where there is a question as to whether a practitioner may be practising at the required standard for the scope of practice in which they are registered. The committee’s process is governed by terms of reference and procedure set largely by the Board, but in consultation with the practitioner being reviewed. Generally, the review takes the form of a 1-day practice visit by the Committee who will meet with and interview the practitioner, get a sense of the practitioner’s working sttle and environment, review a sample of clinical records, and in most instances, will observe some patient consultations (with consent). They will then make a determination as to whether they consider the practitioner to be practising at the required standard and report this back to the Board via a written report detailing their findings. This whole process is usually completed within a 2-3 month timeframe.

If you would like to apply to be considered for membership of a professional conduct or competence review committee, please send your CV to the Board together with a supporting cover letter indicating why you are interested in becoming a committee member and what you believe you could bring to the role. Please indicate in your letter your preference for serving on conduct or competence review committees, as the roles are quite different and members are typically appointed to only one. 

Applications should be submitted by 13 October 2014.

Your feedback welcomed

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 [email protected] 

Contact Us

Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board

Level 5, 22 Willeston Street,
Wellington 6011
PO Box 9644, Wellington 6141
Tel: +64 4 474 0705, Fax +64 4 474 0709

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