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Optometrists Association assures optometrists that they can continue to follow the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) guidelines for use of scheduled medicines, which are not affected by the finding by the Queensland Supreme Court yesterday.

The court found that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) have standing to challenge the guidelines and the decision by the OBA that allowed independent glaucoma management by endorsed optometrists. A date for the hearing is likely to be set for the middle of 2014.

Optometrists Association CEO Genevieve Quilty said the association continued to support the changes made by the OBA in March 2013.

‘We firmly believe these changes are safe for patients and recognise that endorsed optometrists are very well positioned to provide this important care to glaucoma patients, now and into the future,’ she said.

‘With a greater number of Australians living longer, the Australian health system needs to be flexible to meet emerging health needs.

‘The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme established in 2008 envisaged workforce change, where it was shown to be safe, via the continuous development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable Australian health workforce.

‘We believe the decision made by the OBA is in line with these aims,’ Ms Quilty said.

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