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The Optometry Regulatory Reference Group meeting, Melbourne    Photo: OBA
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The Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand is planning to review its entry level optometry program accreditation standards and Competency in Optometry Examination.

Executive officer Sian Lewis said OCANZ was in the process of finalising arrangements to review the standards and examination administered to overseas trained optometrists, and would consider new Optometry Australia competency standards in the context of these reviews.

‘The existing Optometry Australia competency standards provide guidance to practitioner competence in both OCANZ accreditation and examination processes,’ Ms Lewis said.

‘The OCANZ standards relate to courses and education providers whereas Optometry Australia’s standards relate to an individual’s competence to practise. OCANZ is rewriting its standards which cover issues such as course governance, physical resources, and teaching and learning methods.

‘When the OCANZ standards address issues such as curriculum, assessment and teaching, safe practice outcomes are the major consideration and our documents refer to the current Optometry Australia standards as providing guidance to OCANZ assessment teams as to the standard required,’ she said.

All optometrists trained outside of Australia and New Zealand must successfully complete the Competency in Optometry Examination before being eligible to apply for registration with registration boards in Australia or New Zealand.

Optometry Australia CEO Genevieve Quilty said Optometry Australia’s recently completed revised competency standards incorporated therapeutic competencies and set an important threshold for graduates.

Ms Lewis, Ms Quilty and Optometry Australia president Andrew Harris attended the Optometry Regulatory Reference Group’s third meeting on 15 August. Also represented were heads of school from Australia and New Zealand, the Optometry Board of Australia, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the Australian College of Optometry, the New Zealand Association of Optometrists, and the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board of New Zealand.

The group discussed issues including entry-level competency standards, future graduate numbers, CPD accreditation and the introduction of the registration standard for general registration for initial applicants.

The group was convened by the OBA to provide a forum to discuss matters relating to the registration of optometrists and the accreditation of optometry programs under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

The forum also aims to foster communication and understanding of the different regulatory and accreditation issues between New Zealand and Australia.

Sarah Fagan, executive officer Optometry Strategy and Policy with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, said the meeting provided a valuable opportunity to share information about the activities of members and to discuss issues of common interest.

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