Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board

December 2011 Newsletter

In this issue:

  • Introducing new Board staff

  • Consultation on optometry scopes of practice

  • Consultation on draft statement on internet medicine

  • Consultation on fees for 2012/2013 APC year

  • Accreditation of NSW optometry program

  • Guidance on ethical practice when referring

  • Report on training day for PAC Members

  • 2010/2011 Annual Report


Introducing new Board staff

In November 2011, the Board farewelled its Registrar, Rachael Thorn, and Deputy Registrar, Brooke Matthews. The Board has now welcomed a new Registrar, Lindsey Riley, and Deputy Registrar, Chris McKeown.

Lindsey Riley - Lindsey was appointed as the Board's Registrar in November 2011. Lindsey's employment history includes 5 years in the health regulation sector working for two different health regulatory authorities specialising in registration, complaints, conduct, competence, and education. Lindsey has a BA in English and Film from Victoria University of Wellington and is currently completing a Diploma in Business through the Open Polytechnic.   Lindsey's responsibilities include managing the Board's operations, advising the Board on legal and policy issues, and overseeing implementation of the Board's functions under the Act.

Chris McKeown, Deputy Registrar - Chris was appointed as the Board’s Deputy Registrar in November 2011. Chris has a strong administration background and has previously worked in the health and education sectors for an academic institute and more recently for an independent training organisation. Chris' responsibilities as Deputy Registrar include managing all applications for registration and practising certificates, implementing the Board's self audit processes and assisting the Registrar with policy development.

Consultation on optometry scopes of practice

Click here to view the consultation document. Submissions are due by 10 April 2012.


Consultation on draft statement on internet practice

Click here to view the consultation document. Submissions are due by 27 January 2012.


Consultation on fees for 2012/2013 APC year

Click here to view the consultation document. Submissions are due by 27 January 2012.

Please be aware, as new fees must be gazetted and a 28 day stand down period applies before fees come into effect, practitioners will not receive APC renewal applications for the 2012/2013 year until early March 2012. Practitioners are asked to ensure they are well organised so that applications are completed and returned to the Board, as well as fees paid, before 31 March 2012.


Accreditation of NSW optometry program

The Board is pleased to advise that at its October 2011 meeting it resolved to endorse the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand's decision to reaccredit the Bachelor of Optometry Bachelor of Science Program at the University of New South Wales for a period of 8 years (provided there are no major changes to the program during this period).


Guidance on ethical practice when referring

It has recently come to the Board’s attention that optometrists involved in referral systems with ophthalmology practices potentially risk breaching the Board’s Standards of Ethical Conduct if they are not completely transparent about the referral system. There is a particular risk of a breach if an optometrist is being reimbursed by an ophthalmologist at a rate which is higher than the optometrist's usual fee. 

Optometrists referring to an organisation that provides for reimbursement (or using any other system that may be perceived to constitute an interest of the optometrist), should advise their patients of the arrangement, offer them an alternative option, and advise them of the clinical reasons for the recommendation as to whom the patient should attend. The Board considers that this open disclosure will ensure that patients are able to make an informed decision about which ophthalmologist they wish to be referred to.


Report on training day for PAC members

The Board recently held a training day in Wellington for practitioners and laypeople who assist the Board in carrying out performance assessments of practitioners. People who assist the Board with this work are more commonly referred to as 'Performance Assessment Committee (PAC) Members' and their role is to review a practitioner's practice and report back to the Board with a recommendation on whether or not the practitioner is practising at the required standard of competence.

The training day was not only for training new PAC Members to assist with this work, but also served as a refresher for existing PAC Members who had not received training from the Board since 2007. PAC Members who assist other health regulatory authorities with this type of work also attended the training day, and presentations were given by Dr Steven Lillis, general practitioner and medical adviser to the Medical Council, on conducting robust assessments and international competence concern trends, and Anita Miller of Buddle Findlay Lawyers, on writing robust assessment reports.

Feedback received from attendees after the training indicated that they found the day rewarding, interesting and a valuable opportunity to discuss and find resolutions to issues that often arise during assessments. Attendees requested that training be held more frequently in future, so the Board has agreed, in principle, to hold training days every 2 years.

The Board extends a big thank you to those who attended and contributed to the successful training day.


2010/2011 Annual Report

The Board's Annual Report for the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 has now been published and is available to view on the Board's website. Click here to view the Annual Report.


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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