Optometry Australia will launch its new blue print for growing, evolving and protecting optometry in Australia on 1 July.
Andrew Hogan, President, Optometry Australia, said the 2018 – 2021 strategic plan aims to ensure that optometry is in control of its future through the continued creation of a strong and sustainable sector that is meeting the diverse eye health needs of Australians, while providing a rewarding career path for optometrists.
The plan will provide focus to Optometry Australia’s projects and activities and as the overarching objectives cascade, it will also drive State organisation’s initiatives.
Mr. Hogan said the new blueprint responds to member feedback. “The majority of projects Optometry Australia has committed to delivering align with those that members have advised it to concentrate on – such as ensuring that optometric services are remunerated appropriately throughout the sector and that there is an appropriate workforce strategy in place.”
He said the organisation also aims to ensure that the evolving scope of practice is on track and that it is building a closer working relationship with RANZCO. “We are already collaborating with four major funds and recently released a member only resource that clarifies the different rebate rules of competing private health insurance funds. Over the next years, Optometry Australia aims to consolidate these relationships to the benefit of members,” said Mr. Hogan.
Another key goal sees Optometry Australia committed to raising awareness of the role of optometrists among consumers and developing strong referral pathways between relevant health disciplines and optometrists.
The new plan was developed in collaboration with all State Presidents and CEOs and a working group of members.
To ensure continuity with the current planning period, Optometry Australia will maintain its focus on three platforms – to lead, engage and promote optometry, optometrists and community eye health. It has also set itself clear and ambitious targets,” said Mr. Hogan.
“Our new strategy replaces the 2015 – 2018 plan, which has provided Optometry Australia with the framework to deliver a wide range of positive projects that have had a tremendous influence on evolving and advancing our sector as a core health care provider in Australia,” he said.
Mr. Hogan cited key achievements during this period that include overseeing the expansion of Medicare items – including foreign body removal and telehealth items – to support greater access to timely, quality care; securing the right for optometrists to prescribe anti-glaucoma medications under the PBS; and lifting the freeze on Medicare rebates one year ahead of schedule following extensive campaigning including the delivery of a petition to the Federal Government with 18,000 signatures.
The organisation also launched the successful Good Vision for Life consumer awareness campaign that delivered more than one million optometry appointments in its first year. Under the same theme, Optometry Australia’s campaign to general practitioners is aiming to increase referral pathways between GPs and optometrists.
Additionally, Optometry Australia introduced a CPD program for its Pharma publication, launched a new CPD point’s management portal, initiated new clinical and non-clinical webinars and developed a new, easy to use member portal.