Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board

IMPORTANT - APC renewal 2011 - changes that affect you

  • New $240 additional fee for all applications received more than two working days after 1 April.
  • All late applications to be referred to the Board to consider disciplinary action.
  • Update your postal address now.
  • Other key points to help you meet requirements.

All APCs, regardless of when they were issued, expire on 31 March every year. If your next APC renewal is late, the Board will be taking additional steps in considering your application, which will incur extra cost to you and may result in disciplinary action.  

As noted in the last newsletter there were a number of practitioners who missed the 31 March deadline for renewal of their practising certificates for the 2010 year, and practised illegally.  Several cases were referred to Professional Conduct Committees (PCCs). While some of these cases are still in progress, a PCC that has completed its investigation of one of the cases has laid charges against a practitioner at the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT).

Practising without a practising certificate - implications for you

As well as being illegal, practising without a practising certificate can have wider implications, including:

  • potential disciplinary action
  • ineligibility for access to subsidies through Enable/ACC
  • potential loss of professional indemnity protection in the event of an adverse patient outcome
  • increased scrutiny from the Health and Disability Commissioner in the event of a patient complaint.

Every year the Board sends APC renewal forms to practitioners in late January/early February, giving you at least 6 weeks to complete your form and return it on time. APC renewal is not merely a formality - it is the Board's annual check to ensure that each practitioner is competent and fit to practise.  The Board deals with many cases each year where further information is required before a decision is made on the issuing or otherwise of a practising certificate.


Changes to APC renewal process

The Board has implemented a new process for dealing with late applications for renewal.  For the 2011-2012 renewal, and in following years, all renewal applications received more than two working days after 1 April, or signed and dated after 31 March, will be invalid.  The applicant will be required to complete a full application for a practising certificate, including providing evidence of practice history in the last three years, and providing information on the reasons for the late application and what the practitioner has been doing since his/her practising certificate expired.

The application will be referred to the Board to determine whether the practitioner has practised without a practising certificate, and if so, whether disciplinary action will be taken against the practitioner.  The cost to the Board of assessing such cases has been calculated at $240 per case, and the Board has recently consulted on and adopted this new fee, which is additional to the APC fee. 


Key points to note

1. You are required by law to promptly advise the Board of changes to your work, residential and postal address.  Please ensure that you advise us of any changes by 21 January 2011.  If you change postal addresses in the last week of January, you must still update us, but will also need to ensure arrangements are in place for your mail to be forwarded to you.  If you have not received your APC renewal forms by 18 February, please contact the Board.

2. An application for an APC is not complete until payment is received by the Board.  Last year several practitioners were late renewing because their fees were paid by their employer, who either did not pay on time, or who paid for several applications with one cheque, with the incorrect total fee.  None of the applications could be processed until the correct fee had been paid.  It is your responsibility to ensure payment for your application is made.  If your employer covers the cost of your APC, you may wish to consider paying for it yourself and recovering the cost from your employer.

3. The Board will not be reissuing renewal notices sent to the last known address.  Last year a number of practitioners lost their renewal notices or asked, after receiving the notice, to change their postal address and have the renewal notice reissued so that they could recover the cost from their employer.  If you lose your personalised renewal notice you will need to download a generic version from the Board's website and complete your personal details.

4. The Board recommends that you put your complete application in the post before 11 March 2011. If you apply for your practising certificate after your current practising certificate expires, you must wait until a new practising certificate is issued before you can practise.  The renewal process only applies to applications made before the current practising certificate expires.  If your complete application (including cleared payment) is not at the Board's offices by 31 March, you will need to take leave from work until you receive your practising certificate. 

5. If you have not heard from us within one month of submitting your application, or by 25 March (whichever is the earlier) please contact staff to ensure we have received your application.

6. If you are running late on the deadline, do not pay by cheque.  Cheques take five working days to clear and your APC will not be issued until your payment has cleared.

7. If you are not practising and decide not to renew your practising certificate, you must still select one of the non-practising options on the renewal form and send it back to us.

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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