In Focus by Andrew McKinnon

Membership Renewals Are Happening Now!

Renew before 30 June for a tax deduction!

When you’re busy in the consulting room, you need to know that someone is out there looking after your interests. Someone you can call if an employment matter crops up, of if the HCCC sends you one of 'those' letters. That’s why you’re a member of the Association – and why we hope you’ll continue to be long into the future!

You should have received and email with your renewal details enclosed. If not, please call (02) 9712 2199 or email us and we’ll fix that up for you straight away.

Optometry Giving Sight

When renewing, remember to support Optometry Giving Sight!

Optometry Giving Sight is our profession’s charity, helping millions of people around the world to see through the simple expedient of an eye exam and a pair of spectacles. When you’re renewing your membership, if you’re able to, please support OGS by clicking the image below – their work is invaluable!


Look for Life Foundation - Advancing the Technology of Sight

Our colleagues at the Look for Life Foundation are doing some amazing work in utilizing technology to help patients with severe visual impairment realise their potential. For further information on the work of the Foundation please click here.

Patient Information DVDs from the Sydney Eye Hospital

Sydney Eye Hospital has produced a series of excellent DVDs to help patients understand what will happen surgically when they are treated for a range of conditions. You can get these DVDs without charge from SEH – they’ll make a valuable addition to your patient information armory. For further information click here.

Kett Optometry Museum - Become a Friend Today!

The Kett Museum is an amazing repository of the history of our great profession. Keep up to date with their work and become a Friend – its free and a wonderful way to help ensure that our history is preserved. Click here for the latest newsletter.


The OA NSW/ACT Ski Conference is Back!

August 24-26, Thredbo Alpine Resort

After an absence of several years, the ski conference returns to a mountain near you. There will be 8 hours of scintillating CPD and many more of exhilarating skiing!

CPD points TBA, but expect around 18-24. The lecture schedule will be released as soon as it is finalised.

IMPORTANT NOTE: accommodation is filling fast, so if you plan on going, we recommend booking now. To register, click here.

Locums - Understanding What it Means

We’re going to write an extended advisory on this shortly, but as a very brief overview:

  • A locum is, by definition, a temporary or short-term appointment. The Australian Taxation Office does not recognize the concept of a 'permanent locum' – anyone who regularly attends a place of work for a period exceeding 12 months is, for the ATO’s purposes, a part time employee.
  • Superannuation – as a locum, unless you are trading through a Pty Ltd company or a Trust, your employer MUST pay superannuation on your behalf into an approved super fund.
  • Employers are particularly at risk if they enter into 'creative' arrangements with locums. The ATO has extraordinary powers to levy fines and penalties. Even if you want to challenge them, you must pay the fine first and then go to court to try and get it back!

As noted, we’ll issue a more extensive advisory on this shortly, but in the meantime if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Fair Work Varies Minimum Pay Rates

The Fair Work Commission has announced a variation to the minimum rate of pay for adult employees in Australia. This will flow on at least in part to Awards and those changes will be announced in the coming weeks. We’ll let you know what the changes are as soon as we receive the information.

Your Association - Our Support for You

Each month we bring you a short article about things that the Association is doing to support members.

We all send reminders or make referrals – but how often should we do so? And what if a patient doesn’t follow up the referral – should we chase them up? This is a very common question – with some possibly surprising answers:

A member received a complaint from the HCCC alleging that they had ‘inappropriately’ referred a patient to a particular ophthalmologist – and the patient wasn’t happy with the outcome of the ophthalmologist’s care. Are you responsible for the care provided by another professional?

As a general proposition, provided that you refer to another practitioner in good faith and within what would normally be regarded as their generally-accepted scope of practice, then the onus of care passes from you to the referee practitioner.

However, in this case there was a wrinkle – the ophthalmologist was the subject of a NSW Medical Council inquiry and had had conditions placed on their scope of practice. The complainant patient alleged that the optometrist should have known this and thus not have referred.

Our advice to our member (and this was the basis on which we drafted the reply to the HCCC) was that whilst concerns about the doctor are now fairly widely known, they weren’t at the time of the referral being made. Granted, if our member had searched the AHPRA record for the doctor they would have seen the notification, but we argued that no reasonable person would do that every time they referred. It isn’t until information like this comes into the public arena (or at least becomes widely known amongst the colleague fraternity) that an argument can be made that the optometrist ‘should have known’. In this instance that wasn’t the case.

We are currently waiting on a further response from the HCCC, but we feel confident that we have made a strong case that the complaint should not proceed.

It’s this level of expertise that stands behind you as a member of the Association. The Association is here to safeguard and enhance your interests. We have extensive expertise, backed by specialist professional resources. That’s why you belong!