National Professional Services Manager
If you practise optometry, you have a legal requirement to hold professional indemnity insurance that meets the registration standard.
Professional indemnity insurance provides cover for claims brought against the insured due to their professional negligence. For health-care professionals, these policies may also extend to cover legal fees for certain matters, for example, defence of defamation. Optometry Australia’s insurance policy also covers you defending complaints brought by registration boards, charity work overseas, practice staff and students working under your supervision.
You need to know about negligence and your duty of care, the level of insurance cover required by law, and how you can manage risk. You also need to know how to report an incident or claim, what to report and when, and what happens next after you lodge a report.
Diagnostics is the main activity area that presents a source of problems for optometrists —similar to that of GPs. Forty per cent of optometry claims are diagnostic and account for 98 per cent of damages awarded. The top causes of claims are misdiagnosis, and delay or failure to diagnose—especially glaucoma, tumour or retinal detachment.
Our advice: ensure your patient record clearly details your examination and results.
It is essential to report claims and incidents when you first become aware of them—and in the policy period. If in doubt, report!
This information on Professional Indemnity Insurance and Negligence will help you.