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New CPD requirements for Australian optometrists

07/08/2019By Callum Glennen
The Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) has released updated continuing professional development (CPD) requirements that optometrists will need to meet in order to keep their registration.

Effective as of 1 December 2020, the new hours-based system replaces the point-based requirement currently in place. CPD will also be tracked annually, instead of the present two-year rolling scheme.

As per the new system, all registered optometrists will be required to complete at least 20 hours of evidence-based CPD annually. For optometrists with an endorsement in scheduled medicines, an additional 10 hours of CPD relating to therapeutic practice will also be necessary.

The updated standards also require that a minimum of five CPD hours be completed in an interactive setting alongside other practitioners. A maximum of five hours of CPD on non-scientific or non-clinical activities can also count towards the total. This includes activities relating to optical goods and equipment, so long that it is relevant to practice and tangibly improves patient management.

Registrants are also required to keep a portfolio of their learning goals, planned CPD activities, and a reflection of how it has contributed to improving their practice.

Ian Bluntish, Optometry Board of Australia chair
Ian Bluntish, Optometry Board of Australia chair
“To give optometrists time to familiarise themselves with the changes to the revised registration standard, it will not take effect until 1 December 2020”
Ian Bluntish, OBA

“After extensive consultation with the profession, the Board agreed to change the CPD assessment from a points system to one based on hours,” Mr Ian Bluntish, Optometry Board of Australia Chair, said.

“To give optometrists time to familiarise themselves with the changes to the revised registration standard, it will not take effect until 1 December 2020.”

Ms Lyn Brodie, Optometry Australia CEO, said that it was good to finally get clarity around the new CPD requirements.

“The changes that the OBA have announced bring optometry into alignment with other health professions as the majority have already moved from points-based to a self-learning-based system founded on hours,” Brodie said.

“It also provides further recognition by the regulators of the significance of optometry within the health profession. We support these changes as we believe that they will generate better opportunities for optometrists to enhance their education.”

Dr Ben Ashby, director of optometry at Specsavers, told Insight his organisation welcomes the transition to a CPD system that puts improved patient care at the centre of the learning process.

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“This is in complete alignment with our education strategy that is built around evidence-based CPD that has a measurable impact on the care provided.”

Ashby added that when practitioners are supported with benchmarked data on their patients’ outcomes, they are able to identify their learning opportunities and development requirements, allowing them to seek the most appropriate education.

“The data published in Specsavers’ State of the Nation Eye Health Report 2018 indicates that benchmarking improves the quality of care provided. Specsavers will work closely with the OBA to bring in the new system and leverage our data to report on the anticipated national improvements in avoidable blindness detection rates.”

During the transition period, the current requirement for 80 CPD points during the 1 December 2018 to 30 November 2020 period remains in place. The OBA has also kept the requirements for cardiopulmonary resuscitation training unchanged.

Full details of the new requirements changes are available on the OBA website.


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