28 Nov 2017
The Board undertook a wide-ranging public consultation in early 2017 on the review of the current Endorsement for scheduled medicines registration standard and Guidelines for use of scheduled medicines.
The Board received helpful feedback from key stakeholders and governments on its proposed changes.
After careful consideration and further consultation with the peak eye health care professional bodies, Optometry Australia (OA) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), the Board proposes to update its regulatory framework to ensure contemporary clinical standards will be maintained.
The Board supports a collaborative approach to accessible, safe eye health care for everyone living in Australia and has clarified aspects of potential patient safety issues and the process for future changes to the list of medications that endorsed optometrists are qualified to prescribe.
The Board proposes to provide further ongoing opportunities for key eye health care professional bodies to consider and advise on the appropriateness of any future new medicines being added to the list available to optometrists. This will then be stated in the proposed revised Board guidelines and is an additional step to the current public consultation process undertaken by the Board.
The Board has in place a number of additional requirements to those outlined above. This includes that the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council guidance is followed, to make certain medicines are appropriate for endorsed optometrists to use within their scope of training.
In addition to the Board’s consultation process, other checks and balances in the regulatory system remain the same. The Board will continue to receive advice from the multi-disciplinary Scheduled Medicines Advisory Committee. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will continue to safeguard public health and safety by regulating the classification of medicine (as a schedule 2, 3 or 4), the supply of medicines and the monitoring of adverse drug event reporting. State and territory drugs, poisons and controlled substances legislation will continue to determine the timing of when an optometrist is authorised to prescribe and supply, and more information can be found on the TGA contacts website. The Board continues to monitor any concerns raised with respect to the professional conduct of optometrists.
As part of the Australian Government’s broader National Medicines Policy, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will continue to determine what endorsed optometrists may prescribe under the PBS and the treatment criteria of medicines they subsidise. The Board continues to encourage the peak professional bodies to develop appropriate professional practice guidelines for the information of practitioners.
The Board will continue to work with key stakeholders in the interest of patient care and the protection of the public.