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Dispensing conference a step toward self regulation

02/08/2017By Matthew Woodley
The final Specsavers Dispensing Conference (SDC) will be held in Perth today, wrapping up a series that has visited Auckland and capital cities in four Australian states.

More than 500 optical dispensers have taken part in the inaugural series, which Specsavers’ director of retail advancement and product, Mr Steve O’Leary, described as an important milestone for the profession in Australia and New Zealand.

“One thing is as certain as ever it was – we can’t resist the pace and scale of technological changes that are occurring everywhere we look within the optical professions,” O’leary said during his opening address.

“Within optical dispensing, we must passionately embrace change, challenge ourselves to constantly evolve our skills and improve the way we deliver more effective dispensing services to our clients and customers.”

Specsavers has also positioned the SDC as a precursor to self-regulation within the profession; a concept that has received support from the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association.

“We believe that dispensers should be excellent because we want to be, not just because a regulator says we should be. We believe that professions such as ours can be self-regulating. That we can challenge ourselves to always improve, develop and follow best practice developed by our profession, for our profession, and for the ultimate benefit of our customers,” O’Leary said.

“We also need to develop the platform that gives us an effective way to generate, manage, track and capture CPD programs for all dispensing professionals. We are looking forward to working together with all interested parties represented here today to deliver that platform.”

The presentation line up featured Professional experts such as Ms Alicia Thompson from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and the team from the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing delivered presentations at the SDC over a wide range of topics.

Professor Kathryn Rose from the University of Technology Sydney also delivered a lecture on recent updates in the field of myopia control and Mr Greg Lee from Carl Zeiss Vision provided in depth information lens advances and their implications for dispensers.

Director of communications for Specsavers, Mr Charles Horner, described the SDC as a natural progression of the company’s career development program for optical dispensers.

“Continuing professional development is critically important for optometrists and we believe it is just as important on a practical basis for optical dispensers,” he said.

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“SDC adds another layer to our career development program, as an annual dispensing conference for professional dispensers – and the next step we will take is to offer a framework for formal dispenser CPD in a deregulated environment.”

The SDC has been confirmed for 2018, however, it has not yet been determined whether it will follow the same touring format or if it will be based in one city.

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