A court case involving RANZCO and the Optometry Board of Australia has been adjourned until 1 December.
A hearing was scheduled as a civil trial in the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane for 4-8 August. The decision to adjourn was made public on 30 July.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists are challenging the OBA’s scheduled medicines guidelines, which came into effect from March 2013, allowing therapeutically endorsed optometrists to independently diagnose and manage glaucoma.
Optometrists can continue to follow the OBA’s guidelines for use of scheduled medicines, which are not affected by the adjournment.
In a statement released on 5 August, the OBA said: ‘The legal proceedings were estimated to take longer than originally scheduled and have been rescheduled to commence on the 1 December 2014’.
The case is scheduled to conclude on 12 December, with Justice Alan Wilson overseeing the trial. Affidavits have been filed on behalf of the respondent, the OBA, and subpoenas have been served.
Optometry Australia CEO Genevieve Quilty said the organisation continued to support the changes made by the OBA in March 2013.
In New Zealand, optometrists are now authorised to prescribe glaucoma medications after an amended medicines bill was passed through Parliament.
As of 1 July 2014, under the Medicines Amendment Act 2013, optometrists certified to use therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (TPA) can prescribe all medicines appropriate to their scope of practice.
The decision means optometrists will no longer be limited to a list of medicines specified in regulation.
New Zealand’s Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board said the amendment recognised the safe and appropriate prescribing practice of optometrists over the past nine years.
In a statement released by the board in June, it said one of the key impacts of the change in prescriber status would be the extension of optometric care of glaucoma beyond the monitoring and detection stage, giving the public easier access to care for this condition.