New position statements make clear Optometry Australia’s stand on three highly-topical areas of the profession.
‘Bulk-billing by optometrists’, ‘Remuneration for sustainable primary eye care’, and ‘The optometry workforce’ outline the organisation’s position on these important areas. Each statement provides recommendations for government, which ensure the optometry profession continues to meet the growing needs of the community.
Optometry Australia’s national board formally approved the statements at its meeting on 19 September.
Bulk-billing and remuneration for optometry services are particularly relevant issues as a result of changes announced in the Federal Budget in May.
The position statements were developed by Optometry Australia’s Policy team in consultation with a working group of members, and are publically available on the Optometry Australia website.
Policy advisor Christopher Poulter said that Optometry Australia supported measures that allowed optometrists to set their own fees to appropriately fund the cost of their services.
‘The impending removal of the fee cap under Medicare will greatly facilitate this,’ he said. ‘We also believe a well-funded Optometric MBS is essential to support the delivery of sustainable primary eye care.
‘From a bulk-billing perspective, Optometry Australia’s existing recommendation to members has not changed: members should develop their own bulk-billing policies given the unique circumstances of each provider.’
Mr Poulter said the workforce position statement made clear the organisation’s view of the current and expected balance or imbalance between demand for optometric services and trained optometrists able to provide them, based on robust modelling suggesting an over-supply of optometrists in the near future.
‘We have already begun advocating in accord with the positions outlined in all three position statements and will continue to do so,’ he said.
Mr Poulter said a broader position statement on access to primary eye care was in development.
Position statements have unrestricted access on the Optometry Australia website.
What’s our position?
Optometry Australia has Position Statements on 20 topics
- Preserving Timely Access to Preventative Eye Care
- Uniform Optometry Legislation
- Private Health Insurance and Optometry
- Bulk Billing
- Contact Lenses and Welding
- Expired Prescriptions
- Optometric Vision Therapy
- Primary Health Care
- Ready-Made Spectacles
- Regulation of the Prescription of Optical Appliances
- Rural Optometry
- Provision of Sustainable Eye Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
- Shared Care
- Supply of Contact Lenses
- Tobacco Smoking
- Ultraviolet Radiation and the Eye
- Unpreserved Saline with Contact Lenses
- Vision and Learning Disabilities
- Vision Screenings