RANZCO is developing guidelines for health professionals other than ophthalmologists to give anti-VEGF injections in hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.
The move would open the way for ophthalmologists to train optometrists, nurses and GPs to give intravitreal injections of antivascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) in hospital clinics. Injecting would likely be under strict conditions, including being under the direct supervision of an ophthalmologist, making no clinical decisions and being trained in phlebotomy, sterile techniques and first aid.
CEO of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists Dr David Andrews said guidelines being developed are likely to go to the board in October.
“The medical system is different in Australia and New Zealand because most clinics in New Zealand are public, but we don’t want two sets of guidelines, we prefer one (to cover both countries.)”
Dr Andrews said RANZCO had been asked by its Fellows to produce guidelines for intravitreal anti-VEGF injections in hospitals by non-ophthalmologists.
“In Australia and New Zealand, a number of nurses (nurse practitioners) are giving the injections, plus some GPs in New Zealand, and there has been a request for guidelines for an orthoptist already trained to inject in the UK,” he said.
“The guidelines would cover what we believe should be the standard, the level of training that people require, and other skills such as resuscitation and injecting skills, the standards everyone giving these injections needs to meet. It will also cover what re-credentialling needs to be done and how often. If optometrists meet those requirements then there is nothing to stop them doing injections.”
Dr Andrews said if RANZCO gave the green light, it would then be up to optometry’s regulatory bodies, the Optometry Board of Australia and the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board of New Zealand to specify and prescribe qualifications for change in optometrists’ scope of practice.
Reproduced with permission from Optometry Australia.