By Genevieve Quilty
National Chief Executive Officer
A key part of the role of Optometry Australia is to promote optometry and optometrists, which we have done during September at meetings with a wide range of key stakeholders.
Alongside Optometry Victoria member and senior research fellow Mitchell Anjou, we participated in the launch of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the importance of a higher level of investment in Aboriginal eye-care work. There was open discussion with ministerial advisors and key Health Department bureaucrats to showcase optometry’s role in this important area of public health.
As part of a Vision 2020 delegation, Kate Gifford and I met with Dr Steve Hambleton who is leading the government’s investigation into Primary Health Care and better options for management of patients with complex and chronic illness.
We also met with key health department officials to discuss our Optometry Schedule and the impact of the Medicare cuts on patient access to care.
Then at the Vision 2020 Parliamentary Friends Group gathering, we met with key parliamentary members, their staff and stakeholders to talk about the importance of a sustained and fair level of funding for patients to access essential eye-care services. With the theme of Eye Care For All, this echoed our own advocacy campaign seeking a reversal of the Medicare cuts.
Separately, Optometry Australia is concentrating its efforts in working with affected professions on the mooted reforms to our regulatory boards.
For a second time this year, we led a process to bring together the majority of registered professions to make clear to ministers and key health advisers our objections to collapsing our regulatory board and eight others into one super board.
We will continue this important collaboration in the coming months before health ministers reconsider this recommendation in December.
As Kate mentions, October is gearing up to be another busy month in Canberra, promoting to key politicians and supporting your role as the member petition is tabled in parliament. Thank you for your continued support of Optometry Australia’s work.
Finally, as announced to all members, we continue our digital transformation in the delivery of our services. From 1 January we will be delivering Australian Optometry news via the website and a soon to be launched sharable app, making it even easier for you to remain engaged with the news of our sector.
We also complete the transformation of Clinical and Experimental Optometry to a digital-only journal, accessible via our website to the Wiley Online Library, and an app for iPad through the iTunes newsstand. An app for Android is in development.
Details were outlined in a message circulated to all members during September and are accessible on our website in the rotating banner.
These decisions were carefully considered and as with all change, adjustment will take time. You will receive more detailed information on the changes over the coming months.
As a membership organisation, we are keenly aware of meeting members’ expectations. Greater use of the digital communication platforms will allow Optometry Australia to direct member revenue to other projects such as enhancements in our PII policy and a greater advocacy presence.