OA: Advice to optometrists returning to business

To support optometry practices return to business, Optometry Australia (OA) is inviting all its members to a webcast on Thursday 14 May at 2:00pm AEST. Entitled Emerging from lockdown – business and practice continuity, the webcast will be presented by OA’s chief clinical officer, Luke Arundel, and director of Optometry Finance Australia, Paul McKinley. Registration is free and open to all members with one non-accredited, non-clinical CPD point on offer.


Clarifying the move to Step 1

Following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s three-step plan announcement for the country to reopen and coronavirus restrictions to be lifted, OA sought clarification about what this means for optometry


By Optometry Australia


In welcome news, the Commonwealth Government on Friday 8 May announced steps to be taken in a staged easing of restrictions. It is expected that states and territories will announce that they are moving into Step 1 at different times.


Immediately following the Prime Minister’s announcement, we again sought clarification from Australian Government Department of Health officials about what this means for optometry. They suggest that as pandemic restrictions ease in each jurisdiction, if appropriate infection control and risk mitigation approaches are used, optometrists can use their clinical judgement to determine what consultations can be conducted.


We interpret this to mean that, provided you are according with the relevant restrictions for the state and territory, and implementing stringent infection control, optometrists can begin providing the standard suite of optometric services.


Consideration should be given to the specific vulnerability or concerns of the patient about infection risk. It may be appropriate to offer telehealth services to vulnerable patients.


It is important to remember that whilst restrictions are easing, social distancing requirements remain in place and this has implications for how many people are in a waiting room or retail space at a time, as well as their proximity to one another.


Effective triage of patients continues to be important. Patients should be asked the following questions, and if they answer ‘yes’ should not be seen face-to-face except in emergency circumstances where appropriate PPE is employed:


  • Do you have a fever, sore throat, cough or new shortness of breath?
  • Have you been diagnosed with Covid-19 or are you currently required to be in self-isolation due to travel or (potential) contact with people with Covid-19?


Our team of Optometry Advisers remain available to address member queries. Contact them via national@optometry.org.au or 03 9668 8500.


In the lead up to this clarification, it is important to emphasise that there is not now, nor has there been, any Government mandates for optometry, or indeed most primary or allied health services, of what specific services can be provided. We are therefore pleased to be providing some firmer guidance.


For more: www.optometry.org.au/practice-professional-support/coronavirus-covid-19-what-optometrists-need-to-know/


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