OAA backs OBA’s proposed glaucoma-guideline changes

OAA has done so in a submission to the OBA, saying it believes in the major amendments allowing optometrists with the experience, interest and patient base the opportunity to prescribe glaucoma medicines, when indicated.
It says the association believes the amendments proposed, in particular the opportunity for optometrists to independently prescribe glaucoma medications, are relevant and align with the objectives of the National Registration and Accreditation Sche and the growing eye health and vision care needs of the Australian public and that he proposed changes recognise the experience and training of optometrists to undertake that role.
The change would continue to uphold the NRAS principles that focus on increased access to services provided by health practitioners in accordance with the public interest, as well as making sure suitably-trained mbers of the eye-care workforce in Australia would continue to meet the increasing eye-care needs of the Australian public, including independent managent of glaucoma by optometrists within their competence.
The proposed amendments would provide more flexibility in glaucoma managent and would eventually contribute to an overall decrease in vision loss from glaucoma.
The submission disagrees with the claim by RANZCO that the proposed amendments are contrary to the NHMRC’s Guidelines for Screening, Prognosis, Diagnosis, Managent and Prevention of Glaucoma and provide a way for convenient, affordable early treatment and regular monitoring of glaucoma.
It calls for interested parties to work collaboratively to keep developing an adequate health-care workforce to assist in diagnosing and treating the ever-increasing incidence of chronic eye diseases.
In support of its claim for change, OAA says both undergraduate and postgraduate (for currently practising optometrists who graduated prior to undergraduate courses including therapeutics) optometry courses at Australian universities include significant glaucoma studies, with participation in teaching by glaucoma experts.
Furthermore, optometrists have had the right to prescribe and use certain schedule 4 drugs since 1996 (initially in Victoria, progressively in all jurisdictions in Australia). By now, they are entitled to use glaucoma-treatment drugs in all jurisdictions, with Pharmaceutical Benefits Sche listing since 2008.
At present 29 per cent of optometrists have completed therapeutics training; from 2014 all initial registrants will need to have done so; OBA CPD requirents include therapeutics-trained optometrists gaining half of their CPD points in activities related to therapeutics; and most rural and rote-area eye care is provided by optometrists, most of whom have been therapeutically trained.

Send this to a friend