Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board

June 2011 Newsletter

In this issue:

  • views sought on optometry scopes of practice
  • update on RMIT application for new prescribed qualification
  • Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal decision
  • update for Christchurch practitioners


Optometry scopes of practice

Optometrists may be aware that the Optometry Board of Australia has recently consulted on a proposal that therapeutic qualification be a requirement for general registration as an optometrist.

We have made submissions to the OBA on this matter and look forward to discussing it with them at a meeting in mid-June.  At this stage, we would like to start gathering information to assist in considering how we should respond further to the proposed changes in Australia, and the developing challenges of providing eyecare for New Zealanders in the coming decade. 

As a starting point we seek the views of optometrists from both scopes of practice, and from any other interested stakeholders, on the issues they believe the Board should consider when looking at whether to alter registration requirements and/or minimum standards of practice.

You are welcome to provide any comments you wish, however specific questions that will assist the Board:

  • what role do you believe optometry will play in New Zealand in the next 10 years with regard to provision of eye health services?

  • will the prescribing of medicines be a necessary part of providing primary eyecare?

  • should all optometrists be required to obtain a TPA endorsement?

  • if so, what will the Board need to consider when asking non-TPA endorsed optometrists to obtain TPA endorsement?

  • if not, what will the Board need to consider in retaining the status quo?

  • how long do you think it would take for all optometrists (currently approximately 320) to obtain TPA endorsement?

  • what other factors does the Board need to consider?

The Board will discuss this at its next meeting on 29 July 2011. Written comments received before 11 July will be included for consideration in that discussion.   


RMIT Certificate IV in optical dispensing

At its meeting on 29 April 2011, the Board considered submissions in response to its proposal to prescribe the above as a new qualification for registration in the optical dispensing scope of practice.

A number of issues were raised by submitters, and the Board agreed that further information was required before it could make a decision.  The Board has therefore deferred a decision on whether to prescribe the qualification pending receipt of further information, including:

  • completion of Part 1 of the review, in the form of observation of a practical block

  • completion of Part 2 of the review, which will be a comparison with other qualifications already prescribed by the Board for registration in the optical dispensing scope of practice

  • additional information from RMIT in respect of several questions put to it by the Board.


Summary of HPDT decision Opt10/168P: Timothy William White

At a hearing of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal on Wednesday 30 March 2011, Mr White faced a charge of practising the profession of optometry when he did not hold a current practising certificate.  The charge was laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) appointed by the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board.

Mr White accepted the charge and following consideration of the evidence before it, the Tribunal found the charge upheld and that it warranted disciplinary action.

Having taken into account the particular circumstances of the case, the Tribunal ordered that Mr White pay a fine of $1,250, and make a contribution to the costs of and incidental to the hearing of $1,000, and $2,500 towards the costs and disbursements of the PCC.  The Tribunal also ordered that Mr White be censured, and reiterated that all optometrists (and indeed all health practitioners) have a significant professional responsibility to apply and obtain an APC in order to practise.

The Tribunal also recommended that the Board consider the possibility of conducting a competence review of Mr White and ordered a summary of its decision be published on the Board's website and newsletter.

The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed here


Update for Christchurch practitioners

As reported in NZ Optics, those Christchurch practitioners who were unable to renew their practising certificates by 31 March were offered an extension until 30 June.  While many renewed on time, a few are still to do so.  Those practitioners should by now have received a fresh set of renewal forms, and applications should be at the Board's offices before 30 June.  If you have not yet renewed your APC and have not received your forms, please contact us immediately.

All practitioners believed to be in the greater Christchurch area have also been awarded a reduction in CPD credit requirements.  Dispensing opticians have been given a six credit reduction while optometrists have been given a 6 credit reduction in each of the two credit types (general and CD).  The Board has written to all practitioners awarded the reduction.  If you have not received a letter and believe the reduction applies to you, please contact Rachael Thorn.


Feedback welcomed

The Board is always looking for ways to improve.  We appreciate that as a regulator with public health and safety as our primary focus, our decisions may not always be popular with those we regulate, however, if you have suggestions on how we might improve on what we are doing please write or send us an email to let us know.

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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