Annual report highlights the work of the Optometry Board of Australia to protect the public in 2016/17

15 Nov 2017

The Annual Report for AHPRA and the National Boards for the year to 30 June 2017 is now available to view online.

Over the past year, registration with the Optometry Board of Australia (the Board) grew by 3.9% to 5,343 optometrists. This contingent now comprises 0.8% of all health practitioners in the National Accreditation and Registration Scheme (the National Scheme), according to information published today in the annual report by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The 2016/17 annual report produced by AHPRA and the 14 National Boards is a comprehensive record of the National Scheme for the year ending 30 June 2017. The Board works in partnership with AHPRA to regulate optometrists across Australia.

‘The past year has seen the Board support cross-profession collaboration with other health-practitioner National Boards within the National Scheme,’ said Mr Ian Bluntish, Chair of the Optometry Board of Australia. ‘Gaining insights from other Boards, and offering our own insights has been particularly beneficial when consulting on the review of the registration standards and guidelines for continuing professional development.’

The Board’s primary objective is to ensure that only those practitioners who are suitably qualified and competent to practise optometry are registered. This work includes engaging with professional bodies, practitioners and the public both nationally and internationally. As well as hosting its annual Optometry Regulatory Reference Group, the Board continued to strengthen links with international optometry regulators in New Zealand and the United States.

‘The Board also presented to optometrists at a ‘Future of Optometry’ event hosted by Optometry NSW/ACT to raise awareness of the different roles of the Board and Optometry Australia,’ said Mr Bluntish. ‘We also educated individual optometrists on how they can play a role in shaping the future of eye care in Australia.’

A snapshot of the profession in 2016/17:

  • Easy to renew: This year saw the largest online registration renewal rate ever achieved across all 14 registered health professions. Over 98.5% of all registered health practitioners renewed online and on time, with 98.8% of optometrists renewing online.
  • Increased registration year on year: Optometrists comprised 0.8% of all health practitioners registered in Australia, and the registrant base continues to grow (up 3.9% from 2015/16 to 5,343 registrants).
  • Students on the register: As at 30 June 2017, there were 1,516 registered optometry students (down 8.2% from 2015/16).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on the register: According to a workforce survey that practitioners can choose to fill out at the time of registration/renewal, 0.3% of optometrists are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (13 practitioners nationally).
  • Complaints received about optometrists: 33 notifications (complaints or concerns) were lodged with AHPRA about optometrists in 2016/17. This equates to 1.1% of the profession.
  • One mandatory notification was made about an optometrist. It related to standards of care.
  • Immediate action was taken once during the year to suspend or cancel an optometrist’s registration while a matter was investigated.
  • Of the 27 matters closed about optometrists in 2016/17: 22.2% resulted in the Board accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on an optometrist’s registration; 18.5% resulted in a caution or reprimand, and 55.6% resulted in no further action being taken.
  • Statutory offence complaints: There were 23 statutory offence complaints made about optometrists in 2016/17 (up from nine in 2015/16). The vast majority (22) were about advertising breaches; one related to use of a protected title.
  • Active monitoring cases as at 30 June 2017: Nine optometrists were monitored during the year for health, performance and/or conduct.

The 2016/17 annual report provides a nationwide snapshot of the work of AHPRA and the National Boards and highlights a multi-profession approach to risk-based regulation, with a clear focus on ensuring that the public are protected.

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registration, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, see Annual Report microsite.

In the coming weeks, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each of the 14 registered health professions. Jurisdictional reports, which present data on registered health practitioners in each state and territory will be published in December.

For more information

 
 
Page reviewed 15/11/2017