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RANZCO launches new referral pathways at congress

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has launched two new referral pathways at its annual congress.

The RANZCO Referral Pathway for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Management and the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Diabetic Retinopathy Management were unveiled on Saturday 19 November as part of the organisation’s 48th Annual Scientific Congress in Melbourne.

“RANZCO is committed to working collaboratively with optometrists, GPs and other healthcare professionals to ensure the most effective and efficient patient care and to improve eye-health outcomes for people across Australia and New Zealand,” incoming RANZCO president Associate Professor Mark Daniell said.

The two referral pathways follow the introduction of the inaugural pathway, the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management, in August this year.

“As with the glaucoma pathway, the AMD and diabetic retinopathy pathways have been developed with the input of both ophthalmologists and optometrists and they aim to provide a clear guide for referring patients to ophthalmologists,” Assoc Prof Daniell explained.

“The pathways are being made available to all optometrists and GPs and we are keen to get feedback from those who use them so that we can continue to build on and improve the guidelines.”

RANZCO educated optometrists and GPs on the new resources during a series of workshops that preceded the official congress program, which kicked off on Sunday 20 November.

In his opening address, outgoing president Dr Bradley Horsburgh briefly discussed the RANZCO referral guidelines as well as the organisation’s strategic aim. RANZCO CEO Dr David Andrews elaborated on this last point, outlining the organisation’s new strategic plan for 2017–20.

RANZCO general manager of communications Ms Emma Carr also took to the stage and provided an update on RANZCO’s communications plan. The plan’s objectives included increasing public relations and political awareness, ensuring RANZCO staff were better informed and more engaged, and creating closer working relationships with GPs and other healthcare professionals.

Topics raised in subsequent presentations included the use of genome editing to correct inherited retinal diseases, optometric use of a teleophthalmology service in rural Western Australia, and the achievements and fundraising needs of the Eye Surgeons’ Foundation.

The RANZCO 48th Annual Scientific Congress concludes today, with the next congress to be held in Perth from 28 October to 1 Novber 2017.All three RANZCO referral pathways are available online.