By Goh Jiah Ying, Optometrist, International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Singapore
According to the Ministry of Health’s Optometrists and Opticians Board (OOB), Continuing Professional Education (CPE) consists of educational activities that serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills and professional performance of optometrists and opticians. It is vital that practising optometrist and opticians continually upgrade their professional competence to provide the most up-to-date services to the public. To ensure this, the OOB oversees a CPE framework to help practitioners to keep up-to-date.
Under OOB’s Code of Professional Conduct and Professional Practice Guidelines (article 5.4 and 6.4), all registered optometrists and opticians are expected to participate in CPE to ensure that their knowledge and skills remain current and relevant and a reasonable level of competence is maintained. A breach of any article in the Code and Guidelines including failure to achieve the necessary CPE credits as determined by OOB could amount to professional misconduct and make a practitioner liable for disciplinary action by the board.
International Eye Cataract Retina Centre and its sister clinic Singapore International Eye Cataract Retina Centre have been actively organising CPE programmes since 2008. Currently chaired by optometrist Ms Lee Hui Xin Leanne, a graduate of Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Optometry course in 2013, International Eye Cataract Retina Centre works with various partners and stakeholders to serve the educational needs of practising optometrists and opticians.
As 2017 comes to a close, Dr Au Eong Kah Guan conducted the last OOB-accredited CPE for 2017 in the style of a small group tutorial at his clinic in Farrer Park Medical Centre on 22 December 2017. His tutorial focused on “Tips for Ocular and Medical History Taking” and “A Clinical Approach to Loss of Vision”.
Despite the ample CPE opportunities provided by International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, government restructured hospitals, professional associations and industry vendors throughout the year, a handful of practitioners still did not achieve the necessary CPE credits to renew their practising certificate for 2018. Dr Au Eong advised these practitioners not to practise optometry or opticianry during the period when they do not have a professional licence as they may face disciplinary action by OOB if they are found to be practising without a valid practicing certificate.
Encouraged by the success of its CPE programmes in 2017, chairman Ms Lee aims to continue working with various partners to bring even more programmes to practitioners in 2018.