By Christopher Poulter
Policy and Advocacy Advisor
Fourteen associations representing nationally registered health professionals, led by Optometry Australia, came together to voice their concerns regarding the recent Snowball review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).
There was little or no support among the professions for a proposal that the boards of nine of the professions registered under the national scheme be brought under one single board.
The professional peak bodies were signatories to a letter provided to the Health Workforce Principal Committee to express concern with the review’s current processes, including a lack of robust evidence to support a number of the proposed changes, and inadequate consultation with key stakeholders.
Australia’s health ministers will convene in mid-August to consider the recommendations from the Snowball review, including the possibility of amalgamating those national boards with a low-regulatory workload, including the Optometry Board of Australia, into a single health professions board.
Optometry Australia state and territory divisions have also written to their health ministers in the period leading up to the Health Ministers meeting, recommending that ministers support the existing independent profession-specific boards under NRAS.
Optometry Australia has consistently advocated against the amalgamation of the OBA with other boards into a super board, and will continue this action.