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RANZCO previews latest referral pathway at Specsavers event

03/03/2017
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Hundreds of optometrists were given a glimpse of RANZCO’s latest referral pathway at the recent Specsavers Clinical Conference (SCC).

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) board member Dr Russell Bach kicked off the fifth SCC’s official program on Sunday 11 September with a presentation on the organisation’s latest clinical guidelines and referral advice on diabetic eye disease.

As part of the presentation, Dr Bach walked delegates through the different sections of the RANZCO Diabetic Retinopathy Referral Pathway and provided case studies as examples of recommended referral action.

The new referral pathway, which is yet to be officially released, is the second to be unveiled by RANZCO. The first – the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management – was introduced in August at the same time that RANZCO announced it was collaborating with Specsavers to improve patient co-management.

“We have had very positive feedback on the referral pathways from both ophthalmologists and optometrists who recognise that improving collaboration between the two professions will result in better patient outcomes and a more efficient patient pathway,” RANZCO chief executive officer Dr David Andrews told Insight.

Dr Andrews stated that the Diabetic Retinopathy Referral Pathway as well as another pathway for age-related macular degeneration were still undergoing development and review processes. However, he said he expected both to be finalised and made available to all optometrists ahead of RANZCO’s annual congress in November this year.

“The purpose of all the RANZCO referral pathways is to ensure that patient pathways are appropriate, effective and improve [safety] by defining clear guidelines … thereby improving collaborative working [relationships] among eye-care providers, particularly optometrists and ophthalmologists,” Dr Andrews said.

“An optometry workshop providing training and information on using the pathways will be held on Saturday 19 November at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre alongside the 2016 RANZCO Annual Scientific Congress. All optometrists are welcome to attend.”

Successful SCC5

In addition to the ophthalmology-led conference program on the Sunday, the SCC included for the second time a series of optometry-focused clinical education sessions on Saturday 10 September. This was followed in the evening by a well-attended welcome function at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

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The 2016 SCC exhibition featured a widened scope of exhibitors compared with previous years, with Optometry Australia, the Australian College of Optometry and the Young Optometrists group represented alongside the event sponsors and universities.

“We were thrilled with this year’s SCC … and we had our best turnout so far,” Specsavers optometry director Mr Peter Larsen commented.

He said 350 and 550 delegates attended the Saturday and Sunday sessions, respectively, including 80 non-Specsavers optometrists and 55 optometry students.

Mr Larsen also confirmed the dates for the sixth SCC had been locked in for 9–10 September 2017. Although the venue was yet to be determined, he indicated that Melbourne would be the most likely choice.

“We are certainly looking to continually improve the event – although, having grown it so much each year since the start, the improvements are likely to be incremental as we try new things,” Mr Larsen said.

“Most of all we want to make sure we provide a fantastic networking forum that is open to all Australian and New Zealand optometrists that’s focused on broad best practice more than it is a Specsavers-specific event.”

The conference in pictures
Specsavers’ Peter Larsen (third from right) and RANZCO’s Dr Russell Bach (far left)
Specsavers’ Peter Larsen (third from right) and RANZCO’s Dr Russell Bach (far left)
The Saturday education sessions were well attended
The Saturday education sessions were well attended

A welcome function was held at GOMA
A welcome function was held at GOMA
Exhibition sponsors and exhibitors at SCC
Exhibition sponsors and exhibitors at SCC

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