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December 2010 Newsletter
APC renewals 2011-2012 APC year
All practitioners are reminded that all APCs expire on 31 March every year, regardless of when they were issued. The Board will be sending a separate newsletter in early January reminding practitioners of some key points about APC renewals. Please ensure your postal address is up to date by 17 January 2011. Renewal forms will be posted at the end of January.
New Standards of Clinical Competence - all optometrist scopes of practice
Following consultation, the Board has now approved revised Standards of Clinical Competence for Optometrists. The new Standards apply to all optometrist scopes of practice. Competencies specific to TPA endorsed optometrists are italicised within the document. The new Standards are effective from 1 December and are available here.
Consultation on Fitness to Practise policy
It is a legal requirement that health practitioners must advise the Board if they believe an optometrist or dispensing optician is unable to perform the functions of their job due to a physical or mental condition. The Board is consulting on a draft Policy on Assessment of Fitness to Practise of Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians. The draft policy outlines the Board's proposed approach to dealing with such notifications (which may include self-notification). Consultation closes on 17 January 2011.
Click here for the consultation document and draft policy.
Consultation on amendment to OTEN/TAFE NSW Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing prescribed qualification
The Board requires all dispensing optician applicants who have completed the OTEN/TAFE NSW Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing to also complete a Board Record of Training of 800 hours' supervised practical work in dispensing techniques before applying for registration as a dispensing optician.
The Board has identified that its prescribed qualification does not accurately reflect its intentions with regard to the timeframe for completion of the Record of Training requirement, and is consulting on amending the wording of the prescribed qualification from "the applicant holds the qualification Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing awarded by the New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, or proof of eligibility to graduate from this course, and has submitted a completed and signed record of training book showing evidence of the completion of a minimum of 800 hours of optical dispensing practice"
"The applicant holds the qualification Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing, awarded by the New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, or proof of eligibility to graduate from this course, and has submitted a completed and signed Record of Training book showing evidence of the completion of a minimum of 800 hours' practical experience as specified in the Record of Training book, within two years of qualification."
Consultation on this proposed amendment closes on 17 January 2011. Submissions can be emailed or posted to the Registrar.
Consultation on revision of fees
The Board is consulting on some amendments to current fees, including the APC fee for the 2011-2012 year. The Board is proposing that the total APC fee stay the same as it currently is, but that in order to recover costs associated with disciplinary cases taken this year, and disciplinary action pending in the coming year, a $72 component of the APC fee per practitioner will be allocated to the Board's disciplinary fund. Further information on this and other proposed fee changes is available here.
Consultation closes on 12 January 2011.
Consultation on draft revised Standards of Ethical Conduct for Dispensing Opticians
In September the Board and the ADONZ met to review the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Dispensing Opticians, which the Board is required to set under section 118 of the Act. Some changes to the current Standards have been proposed and are available for review here.
Consultation on the draft Standards closes on 17 January 2011. Submissions can be emailed or posted to the Registrar.
Consultation - Draft Statement on Release and Receipt of Patient Information
The Board is consulting on a draft Statement on Release and Receipt of Patient Information. This Statement is designed to assist practitioners with the legal and other obligations associated with patient requests for their personal information. A copy of the draft Statement can be viewed here.
Consultation closes on 17 January 2011. Submissions can be emailed or posted to the Registrar.
Clarification - Section 8 and the use of titles
The Board has recently received clarification on an important part of the Act that affects all practitioners - particularly dispensing opticians. In the past a number of dispensing opticians have simply ceased using the title "dispensing optician" while they do not hold a practising certificate, and have performed the same tasks using a different title in the workplace. This is not acceptable practice.
Section 8 of the Act requires that a practitioner who practises the profession in which they are registered must have a current practising certificate. This means that if you are registered with the Board and are performing tasks that form part of the dispensing optician scope of practice, you must hold a practising certificate regardless of the title you use to describe your position.
Individuals must decide whether they wish to be registered, in which case they must hold a practising certificate at all times they are practising, must comply with all legislation and Board requirements, and may use the title "dispensing optician." Alternatively, they can request removal from the Register of Dispensing Opticians. If not on the Register, the same tasks as are in the dispensing optician scope of practice can be performed, but the title "dispensing optician" cannot be used, nor can any other title, words or descriptions that may mislead the public into believing the person is practising under regulation and the assurances of competence attached to that.
The same applies to optometrists, who must not undertake any activity (restricted or otherwise) that forms part of the optometry scope of practice, unless they hold a current practising certificate.
Individual CPD dossiers for unaccredited activities
In April 2010, after consultation, the Board introduced a fee for assessment of individual CPD dossiers of unaccredited activities. The fee has not been applied to date, however it will be applied to all individual dossiers submitted from now on. The fee is charged to cover the Board's time in assessing activities that do not fit within the Board's CPD accreditation policies (such as overseas conferences that few NZ practitioners are expected to attend).
It is the Board's view that the wider profession should not have to cover this cost when the assessment of the activity applies only to the individual practitioner who attended it. Practitioners who expect to submit an individual dossier do not need to wait till the end of the CPD cycle to send in documentation for any accredited activities they have completed, but should make sure they keep all documentation for unaccredited activities in a safe place.
Committee work - practitioners sought
In the last year the Board's work has increased in both competence and disciplinary matters. Having last trained Performance Assessment Committee (PAC) members in 2007, we plan to run another training course in the 2011-2012 year, to which all current PAC members will be invited. Other interested practitioners who are in good standing with the Board (both optometrists and dispensing opticians) are invited to contact the Registrar with a summary of their practice background and reasons for their interest. The Board will consider all applications and will decide whether to appoint individual applicants to the panel of PAC members.
The Board is also looking for practitioners from both professions to sit on Professional Conduct Committees. PCCs are involved in investigating complaints and concerns about an individual practitioner's conduct. Interested practitioners should provide the Registrar with a summary of their practice background and reasons for their interest. The Board will consider all applications and will decide whether to appoint individual applicants to the panel of PCC members.
For more information about work on either of these committees, please contact the Registrar.
DPA recertification programme
The follow-up from this programme is now largely completed. A number of overseas based optometrists on the Register, many of whom have never held a practising certificate in New Zealand, have had conditions included in their scope of practice requiring that they demonstrate competence in the use of DPAs before an APC will be issued. Documentation confirming that these individuals are doing so continues to be received in the office.
Annual Report 2009-2010
The Board published its Annual Report on 23 September 2010. A copy can be viewed here.
Statistics: practising practitioners
The Board expects applications for registration from new graduates of both professions over the coming few months.
Section 140 of the HPCA Act requires practitioners to promptly advise the Board of any changes to their postal, residential and (if applicable) work address. It is important that you do so, as the Board must be able to contact you. The following practitioners have not responded to mail sent to them, or their mail has been returned to us. The Board will remove them from the Register if we have not heard from them within one month. If you know how to get in touch with them, please ask them to contact the Board if they wish to stay on the Register.
Michael Browning Jane Harle