Supporting members through the pandemic

New Zealand optometry organisations have been busier than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic alert levels supporting their members.


The New Zealand Association of Optometrists (NZAO) has led the way, working with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other industry bodies, such as the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB), to offer optometrist-focused information, advice and CPD education, while continuing to perform its usual support services.


“It certainly has been an incredibly busy time for NZAO council and staff,” said executive officer Siobhan Molloy.


One of many initiatives that surfaced in the pandemic’s wake was trans-Tasman CPD opportunities, with Optometry Australia (OA) offering NZAO members access to e-learning through its Institute of Excellence portal. This was organised jointly with the ODOB which arranged access with OA for all registered optometrists, said Molloy. NZAO has also been offering more online CPD opportunities for members, free of charge, while they have some extra time, she said.


Neil Human, CEO of the Independent Optometry Group (IOGroup), said the greatest concern for members has been cash flow and how to manage through the shutdown. To counter this, IOGroup has hosted a series of weekly webinars on topics ranging from cash flow recovery plans and fee cancellations to personal protective equipment (PPE) sourcing and frame stock training, generating a high level of engagement, said Human,


EyePro’s general manager Tom Frowde said industry support during this “crazy” time has been particularly fabulous. “Through our supply partners, we have been able to provide access to PPE, including desktop screens, face shields and masks, all of which are locally manufactured and supplied, helping the local economy.”


For less restrictive alert levels, EyePro has also developed communication tools to support members’ staff and patients and their need to feel secure and comfortable*, said Frowde. “By working constructively together, we will recover and grow.”


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