Margaret Lam, Head of Professional Services for George and Matilda Eyecare and a regular contributor to mivision, has expressed her excitement at the prospect of playing a key role in the evolution of Optometry Australia’s services to meet the needs of members in the coming years.
This close interaction and experience with optometrists – from the very beginning through to the end of their professional careers – uniquely places me to serve our members
Dr Lam, who was appointed to the role of National Director on Optometry Australia’s Board at the recent Annual General Meeting, said the organisation is mid-way through a comprehensive strategic plan, which over the next two years aims to ensure optometrists are equipped and supported to meet the growing eye health needs of the Australian community.
The organisation’s lead goals, which are highlighted in its strategic plan (2018–2021) are:
(1) Optometric services will be remunerated appropriately as measured by increased Medicare patient rebates and member feedback highlighting increases in non-Medicare examination income.
(2) Private Health Insurers will implement rules relating to rebate systems and process consistently across providers and in ways that supports billing ease for optometrists.
(3) The optometry service market will have expanded for the benefit of the community as measured by increases in the provision of optometric services; expanded scope of practice; and enhanced collaboration between optometrists and hospitals that is resulting in better access for patients and more sustainable systems for managing progressive eye disease.
(4) There is an appropriate workforce strategy operating nationally as measured by the removal of optometry from the skilled occupation list; evidence that universities are considering community need in relation to student intake; the implementation of more flexible work arrangements within optometry practices; and collaboration across the sector to take control of the future of optometry within Australia.
(5) Our members will be maintaining their high professional standards with static-year-on-year AHPRA/OBA notifications and professional indemnity claims; and the introduction of new methodology to capture continuous quality improvement clinical data from members will enable professional standards tracking.
“Our governing National board at Optometry Australia is the foremost body to ensure our profession grows, and I am honoured and really humbled to accept a role as one of its directors,” said Dr Lam.
Broad Experience with Much to Offer
Dr Lam has served as a State and National President of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia (CCLSA) for over 11 years, a role she says has equipped her with experience she needs to make a valuable contribution to Optometry Australia.
“Over 11 years I have become very familiar with the strict governance required to manage a representative organisation, the duties and roles of directors and our responsibilities to ensure member’s interests are kept at the forefront. As a director of CCLSA, I have been able to contribute to membership growth during challenging times, and I have gained extensive experience working across a broad spectrum of independent and corporate practices. I am excited now to be able to draw on that breadth of experience as a representative of Optometry Australia’s members,” she said.
Dr Lam has also worked in academic roles, as adjunct senior lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW, and with Melbourne University, Deakin University and The University of Auckland.
“This breadth of experience has given me an understanding of changing student needs as they move from university to become early career practitioners,” she said.
As Head of Professional Services for George and Matilda Eyecare, Dr Lam assists 80 independent practice owners and over 100 optometrists with professional skills development. Additionally, she assists practice owners with succession planning.
“This close interaction and experience with optometrists – from the very beginning through to the end of their professional careers – uniquely places me to serve our members through every stage of their working life as a national board representative for Optometry Australia.”
Dr Lam said the profession of optometry is particularly well placed to grow and evolve to meet the future needs of its practitioners and the members of the public.
“I am very excited to be part of an organisation that is committed to evolving to meet its members’ needs and to contributing to the broader strategic plan that will take our profession towards our vision for 2040,” she concluded.