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Optometrists urged to have their say on revised code of conduct

Optometrists are being encouraged to express their views on a code of conduct applicable to them, which has been revised to reflect changes in public expectations and professional practice.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has launched a public consultation on a code that applies to over 184,000 registered practitioners in 12 professions, which also covers dental practitioners, physiotherapists and pharmacists.

According to Ahpra, the updated Code of Conduct aims to be a relevant and useful resource for practitioners, while being more accessible to the public.

With the consultation open until 6 July 2021, the regulator is inviting practitioners, patients and community members, employers, education providers and other stakeholders to have their say.

Ahpra CEO Mr Martin Fletcher said the code establishes important obligations about professional behaviour and conduct.

“The updated code sets out the National Boards’ expectations of professional behaviour and reflects the professionalism that is a fundamental part of being a health professional. Importantly, the code describes the behaviour patients can expect whenever they see a registered health practitioner,” he said.

“We want to hear from patients, consumers, practitioners and others to make sure the updated code is relevant and useful to practitioners and better able to protect the public. We want to hear all feedback to help make the code easy to understand and clear about what is expected from practitioners.”

Ahpra said the shared code creates consistency across the professions and regulatory approaches by setting out the same expectations of behaviour and professional conduct for all health practitioners it applies to.

This consistency supports inter-professional practice and contributes to safety and quality in healthcare.

“I strongly encourage health practitioners, community members, education providers and employers to read the consultation paper and have their say,” Fletcher said.

Optometrists can access the Code of Conduct consultation paper, supporting documents and make a submission online.

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