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By Luke Arundel
National Professional Services Manager

 

This is your last opportunity to have a say on the future of CPD for optometrists.

The current CPD registration standard and guidelines have been in place for over three years and are now being reviewed.

The Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) has released a public consultation paper, Consultation on the proposed registration standard and guidelines: Continuing professional development.

The consultation closes Friday 4 May.

Optometry Australia has been advocating to streamline the CPD system for some time, as the annual randomised CPD audit process for members has highlighted to the organisation the complexity of the current system.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  1. The method for calculating CPD requirements would change from points to hours
  2. The time to achieve the required CPD hours would be reduced from over two registration periods (24 months) to one registration period (12 months)
  3. A minimum of 20 hours of CPD per year
  4. A minimum of five hours of the 20 hours of CPD to occur in an interactive setting with other practitioners
  5. An additional 10 hours of CPD for optometrists with a scheduled medicines endorsement, including a minimum of two hours CPD in an interactive setting with other practitioners
  6. The OBA will continue to accept accredited and non-accredited CPD, but the OBA will no longer approve/endorse/accredit CPD providers or activities and expects practitioners to select CPD activities that are consistent with the ethical and professional standards set out by the Board.

Among other issues flagged in its submission to the OBA on the proposed changes, Optometry Australia has raised its concerns over the additional CPD requirements for therapeutic optometrists, as these requirements would now apply to more than half the profession. Concerns around additional record-keeping requirements for optometrists and a potential drop in quality of available CPD with the removal of accreditation have also been raised.

Optometry Australia welcomes any additional feedback from members; any optometrist can have their say and respond directly to the submission.

Download the public consultation paper to submit your comments directly to the OBA. Email feedback to policy@optometry.org.au.

The Optometry Board of Australia has acknowledged it is aware that CPD is evolving beyond the standard face-to-face lecture as the advent of other learning modes such as online platforms begin to take hold. There is also evidence supporting the value of problem-based learning.

The OBA said currently, practitioners’ obligations to achieve the CPD requirements involve a checklist approach to achieving a number of points through completion of various CPD activities.

The annual audit conducted by the OBA has revealed an inclination for some practitioners to only focus on achieving the point value required to meet the CPD requirements with an absence of reflection on the nature of the educational material, as well as whether or not it addresses any of the learning needs of the individual practitioner, and the relevance of the material to that individual’s optometric practice.

With the proposed changes, according to the OBA, practitioners will be required to analyse their type of practice and the changes occurring within the profession.

The OBA is investigating options that move away from the traditional structured point value model to a model where the practitioner reflects on their practice strengths and weaknesses, and in response, identifies relevant CPD activities that match their learning needs to enhance primary eye health service delivery.

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