The Optometry Board reviews 2016

According to its statent, there was increased registration to 30 June with 5,142 optometrists being registered across Australia, an increase of 4.6% over the previous year. This included 339 new applications, an increase of 30.8% year-on-year.Less than 1% of all statutory offence matters related to optometry this year, with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) receiving nine new complaints about possible statutory offences by optometrists.Almost all new matters related to the use of protected titles and advertising concerns, and all were considered and closed.In addition, there were fewer notifications received about optometrists in 2015/16. Only 39 notifications were received nationally, including data from the Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA) in NSW. This represented a decrease of 29.1% from the previous year. Notifications about optometrists represented just 0.3% of all notifications received by AHPRA (excluding HPCA).Mr Ian Bluntish, Chair of the Optometry Board of Australia said, Efficient managent by the Board means we can focus on what matters most – protecting the public. He added, ‘We also want to ensure that practitioners are not unduly burdened by the cost of registration. Last year, we reduced registration fees for the third year in a row while still accruing sufficient income to meet our regulatory obligations. In the past year registrants across the 14 regulated professions increased by 20,000 than the previous year, totaling 657,621 health practitioners nationally. Student registrations increased by more than 11,000 to a total of 153,710.There was also a greater awareness of the national sche this year, due to a nationwide campaign aimed at ployers, practitioners and the general public that was rolled out across social media and print advertising.Mr Martin Fletcher, CEO AHPRA explained, The regulation of over 660,000 registered health practitioners across 14 health professions and eight states and territories is an important task. There are many things to consider in regulation – but there is only one main focus, and that is public safety. The recent review of the Optometry Board’s 2015/16 committee structure ensures that it’s kept in line with the guiding principles of the national sche to provide the efficient and effective regulation of health professionals in Australia.

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