It’s all about connection and continued education as Optometry Victoria / South Australia (OV/SA) recommences events in the region for early career and established optometrists.
As we work our way into the second quarter of the year, OV/SA continues to revive some of the programs and services that had to be placed on pause during the worst of the pandemic in 2020. We were particularly delighted to have been able to deliver a successful BlueSky in Adelaide in February 2021, helping our members ease in to the new OBA CPD requirements.
OV/SA currently has the highest number of members it has ever had – around 90% of all registered, practising optometrists are members of the Association
While we were disappointed that we had to delay BlueSky in November 2020, we were actually pretty lucky, as on the exact weekend we were originally scheduled to hold the event, South Australia was placed into a hard lockdown due to a hotel quarantine breach. This new normal makes planning for events very challenging, and we’re really grateful that our members are being patient with us and flexible with the changes that happen.
Alongside our conference program we have been able to kick off our well-regarded annual rural and regional program, with CPD nights happening across both jurisdictions. Over the coming months we’ll be in Mt Gambier, the Barossa Valley, Bendigo, Geelong, Wodonga and Warrigal, and we encourage all members in those areas to come along, get some CPD hours and catch up with colleagues.
While much of our early career optometrists’ (ECO) V/SA program moved online in 2020, we’re really pleased that we’re able to do a lot more face-to-face CPD with our ECOs now. We encourage anyone in their first 10 years of practice to follow the ECOV/SA Facebook page to see where and when the events are, and to come along.
We’re well into planning for our largest event of the year, O=MEGA21, from 2–4 September. Most members will know by now that we were originally planning to host O=MEGA21 alongside the fourth World Congress of Optometry, but due to COVID-19 the World Congress will now happen in 2023, again as a joint venture with O=MEGA23.
That said, O=MEGA21 is looking great and we’re increasingly confident that with the rollout of vaccination programming by the Government, we’ll see easier travel around Australia. Members are telling us that they’re super eager to get together to learn, buy and have some social connectivity. O=MEGA21 will be a great chance for that. Thanks as always to mivision for their support and promotion of all of our programming.
Finally, we want to thank all of our members for sticking with us over 2020- 21. We, with our colleagues in other states and with the support of Optometry Australia, took the unprecedented step of halving our membership fees for the year. Even so, with so many members not working, or working less for significant periods of the year (particularly in Victoria), we were concerned that some might choose to leave the Association for financial reasons.
The opposite has happened. OV/SA currently has the highest number of members it has ever had – around 90% of all registered, practising optometrists are members of the Association. We hope the discounting helped, but we also believe that people stuck with us because of the clear, ethical leadership we provided during the crisis. When membership renewal notices arrive in the coming months, and membership fees return – as they must – to ‘normal’ levels, we hope that our members will stick with us again.
Secretariat staff from OV/SA remain on hand to help our members, and will be around at all of our CPD events in the coming months, so get in touch, or come along and say hi. We can’t wait to see you all in person again.
Pete Haydon is the Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Victoria South Australia.