As we close the chapter on the last challenging 12 months, Optometry Australia’s leaders look with optimism towards a brighter year ahead.
This year has been dominated by one grim subject and, as I write this final column for the year, I am determined to instead focus on opportunities and innovation that will take our members towards their preferred future.
The disruption of 2020 has provided the opportunity to accelerate our path towards Optometry 2040. Fortunately we were well down the path of understanding how to leverage disruption and were delighted to provide an opportunity, through webinars and workshops, for members to build their own capability in this critical area. We have also built the capability of the OA team, Board and all state Boards so we are all well equipped to lead the profession forward. While members have been using their skills to reimagine their models of practice, the OA team has pivoted tools and services to ensure our engagement and support of members is unparalleled.
We now have new Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) continued professional development (CPD) registration standards that all optometrists must meet each year. We are pleased to be supporting members to navigate the new requirements, and to be supporting members meet the new CPD requirements with our recently-launched interactive Learning Plan tool. We have conducted a number of educative sessions to make sure members understand the changes and their obligations. These will continue and, of course, our team of Optometry Advisers are always there to assist members.
Good Vision for Life, our well-established eye health community awareness campaign, has been strengthened by substantial activity in recent times, facilitated by a Federal Government grant. This activity will continue in early 2021, ensuring the community understands the value of optometry in quality eye health and that they maintain regular appointments.
We wish everyone a wonderful, innovative and exciting 2021.
I saw a T-shirt the other day which said “FCUK 2020” – close to a widely shared sentiment, I would suspect
I think I’ll run a poll for the most worn COVID cliché of 2020. The main contenders:
- We’re all in this together,
- The new normal, and my personal favourite,
- Based on health advice.
There’s a clothing brand called FCUK (French Connection United Kingdom, in case you’re worried). I saw a T-shirt the other day which said “FCUK 2020” – close to a widely shared sentiment, I would suspect.
But will 2021 be any better? Here are my fearless personal predictions and hopes for the new year:
- Denise and I will be able to travel to Los Angeles to meet our granddaughter before she learns to walk,
- None of us will feel the need to glare at people in our local café if we think they’re too close,
- COVID beards will be a thing of the past,
- Victorians won’t have to book months in advance to see their hairdresser,
- Hotel breakfast buffets will re-open,
- Tourism operators up and down the Queensland coast will at last have patrons for their businesses, and
- Zoom shares will return to normal levels.
Is this too much to hope for? If so, there’s always the Australian sense of humour:
See you for a great 2021!
OQ/NT is delighted to announce that membership continues to go from strength to strength with another solid increase this year, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.
The Australian Vision Convention (AVC) returned in 2020, delivered for the first time as a virtual conference, due to the impacts of COVID-19. The conference delivered a strong CPD clinical program amidst uncertainty in the industry, and was very well received by over 520 delegates who were in attendance.
In addition to this, 2020 presented the opportunity to further engage with members through online platforms. Scheduled Member Hub Meetings and Early Career Optometrist (ECO) events were moved online so that we could continue to provide support to all members, including those in more isolated locations. We thoroughly enjoyed connecting with members throughout the year through these meetings.
Looking forward to 2021, plans are well underway to support our members through the upcoming change to CPD requirements. AVC 2021 has been launched, offering delegates 100% of their CPD requirements all at one conference, with both face-to-face and virtual attendance options available. We are also excited to continue to provide a full calendar of Member Hub Meetings and Early Career Optometrist (ECO) events to our members throughout Queensland and Northern Territory in 2021.
On behalf of the OQNT Board of Directors and team, we would like to wish all our members and mivision readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
After many difficult months, practitioners in Melbourne are back seeing all of their patients. OV/SA has publically supported the Victorian government’s public health response. In harmony with this support we have privately advocated to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Chief Allied Health Officer and the Health Minister that optometry, as an AHPRA-regulated profession with extremely stringent protocols, could have safely returned to routine patient care much earlier. We are very hopeful that Melbourne-based optometrists have a productive, busy return to work alongside their regional Victorian and South Australian colleagues.
In late October we announced that our much-loved BlueSky Congress would move from late 2020 to 26 –27 February at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Many members contacted us to let us know of their focus on the Optometry Board of Australia’s new CPD requirements, which come into effect from the new registration year, and we’re really happy to help them with the transition.
We also know that some members, and some of our valued trade partners were concerned about when, or if, they’d be able to commit to traveling. We’re all crossing our fingers that more borders around the country will be open in the new year – if they are, this will make BlueSky even better in February.
As always, BlueSky will focus on quality CPD, with a strong element of fun thrown in. In 2021 our theme is The Olympics and there are a few surprises planned – visit bluesky.optometry.org.au for more information. Hope to see you all there.
As this disruptive year draws to an end, many people have lost interest in the stream of COVID-related media and endless Premier news conferences. It is important however, to look back on the year and learn from what has been done and how we can improve.
In April, Tasmania had a localised coronavirus outbreak on the state’s north-west coast which enabled the State Health Department to test its procedures and implement tracking systems. While the scope of the outbreak was limited, it confirmed that systems worked. OTAS engaged with the Ophthalmology Department at the Royal Hobart Hospital and private ophthalmology clinics to provide information on the availability of regional optometry services.
As a result of the reduced services provided by public hospitals, their waiting lists have significantly increased. OTAS established a Post Cataract Operation Review Practice List of practices that have agreed to bulk bill patients and complete post cataract health checks. The Hobart Public Eye Clinic plans to outsource these cataract reviews to listed optometrists.
Similar to other divisions, we reduced 2020 membership fees by 50% and offered payment by instalments. In these difficult times, membership numbers have increased and we thank members for their renewals. Member enquiries are at unprecedented levels with hot topics being: CPD requirements, cardiopulmonary resuscitation courses and employment contracts. It’s a good time to access the resources of your local association – we are here to help.
We have a long association with the local private ophthalmology clinic, Derwent Eye Specialists. We help with their events and the clinic provides ophthalmologist speakers at our conference. In a welcome move, the clinic has returned to conducting (COVID- safe) face-to-face training events for our members.
All the best for the remainder of the year!
I am pretty sure Queen Elizabeth II would not mind if I borrow from her speech in 1992, when she described that year as an “annus horribilis,” a Latin phrase meaning horrible year. I’m sure many of us think this phrase is appropriate for 2020. The Queen went on to say it was not a year she would look back upon with undiluted pleasure. I think we can release 2020 and look forward to 2021.
Despite the challenges that 2020 and COVID-19 presented, it would seem that from adversity the resilience of Western Australia has shone through. WAVE became WAVE @ Home, monthly CPD evenings were broadcast by a new word incorporated into our vocabulary (Zoom) and numbers tripled by streaming to the regions. Our members, supported by a plethora of resources including 50% subscription offers, payment plans and information to remain alert and educated, have come out the other side resourced and informed.
Looking forward to 2021, OWA is ready to accelerate the resourcing of our members. Strategic planning initiatives, looking at ways to do things differently to assist our members, and the continued use of enhanced technology offerings are all part of creating a nimble and responsive organisation best placed to serve our members.
I look forward to working with our new Board and President Roxanne Medhora, while recognising the tireless efforts of past President Rob Howie and recently retired Board members Simon Hogan and Christine Baker. Rob will take on a national representative role.
Look out for WAVE 2021 at Fremantle Esplanade Hotel from 20 –21 March, as well as at a computer stationed conveniently near you.
Wishing all members and their families a happy and prosperous Christmas and New Year.