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Continuing Professional Development Program
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CPD program?

The CPD program is a system of accrediting and acknowledging your continuing post graduate professional training. A Certificate of Currency lets the public, health funds* and professional bodies know that you have undertaken recent educational activities relevant to your work in orthoptics.

Participation in the CPD Program to accrue 50 points of approved CPD activity during the registration biennium is required to maintain registration.  The allocation of points is based on the educational relevance, participation level and time involved in the CPD activity.

The Certificate of Currency is accepted by a number of health funds as qualification to issue a provider number for private health rebates.

When and how do I apply for a Certificate of Currency?

Orthoptists who have recently graduated are eligible for a Certificate of Currency for the remainder of the current registration period as your degree in Orthoptics is proof of up-to-date professional training. The number of points requiredfor the remainder of the CPD cycle will be based on when you graduated in the registration cycle.

What will participants have to do to show they have participated?

Evidence of participation would include documentary proof such as:
- Letter of invitation to present;
- signed diary note;
- acknowledgement of contribution.
Meetings and Conferences
- Receipt showing title and date of activity;
- attendance certificate.
- Copy of publication;
- conference program/transactions
Self Education/Other
Journal/article titles and subscription;
- copy of title page from audio/visual material;
- print of web page showing date and full web address;
- letter acknowledging clinic visit stating educational purpose and signed by clinician.

The CPD information states that activities are not automatically approved. Does this mean that all journal articles, teaching activities and self organized trips to theatres and labs (etc.) need prior approval?

Meetings also pose a bit of a problem - will I have to submit for everything I do?

Yes and no!

Many activities have already been approved and the list is expanding rapidly. To see if an activity has been accredited, check the Schedule of Accredited Activities.

Journal articles can be self assessed and claimed, although it is possible for the AOB to disallow the points if the article/Journal is not considered to be educationally relevant.

Conferences, meetings and some self education activities (such as web CPD and distance education) require approval. We do not require a lot of information and the form is downloadable.

It is difficult for me to attend interstate meetings and I only work a couple of sessions per week, hence self education is important to me. That's why I need to be sure how the journals will work and I'm not clear on the self assessments mentioned. Can you expand?

Journal subscription can be to any professionally relevant journal. See CPD Resources for a list of accepted journals - many others may also be eligible.

Self assessments are available with some generally web based journals or CPD sites. An example is the Medscape site which requires (free) registration and offers CPD.

There are an ever increasing number of sites on the net particularly associated with hospitals that offer CPD or CME activities. It is advisable to submit these sites for accreditation.

It is quite acceptable to do the quiz, print your answers as your record of completion, and keep it as proof of participation in case of an audit.

For self-education activities, such as journal subscription and reading, how should you go about attaining accreditation for these?

Self education activities such as distance learning courses need to be of an acceptable standard and professional relevance and should be submitted for approval by completing an accreditation request form.

Self education such as journal reading does not require pre approval. A guide to professionally relevant journals of appropriate educational level is at CPD Resources. You must be aware that it is possible for the AOB to disallow points claimed if the article/Journal is not considered to be educationally relevant.

You will need to list the journals on your Claim Form to apply for your Certificate of Currency. You should keep a copy of the journal cover, table of contents or pages read and the relevant publication information. If you are audited then you will need to produce this as proof.

Does each individual article read have to be approved in advance?

No, reading relevant professional literature is a Self Accredited activity (Code=S/A) which attracts 1 point per article to a maximum of 3 points per journal.

But if you are in doubt about whether an article will be credited you may choose to submit the journal and article titles plus relevant information in a batch periodically for accreditation.

If you are in doubt about any article/journal you should seek accreditation well in advance of sending in your CPD Claim Form.

My workplace subscribes to the Journal of Vision Impairment and Blindness which is circulated to orthoptic staff. We regularly read articles within it.
a) Are any of these claimable for CPD points?
b) Do I need to send in for approval for each of these individually?
c) Can we share points for a journal subscription in a single name?

a) Yes, if you are each reading the journals you can each claim the points.

b) No, articles from a professionally relevant journal such as this example, do not need to be individually approved. Points are allocated per journal and attract 1 point per article to a maximum of 3 points per journal.

c) Journal subscription should be an example of evidence for verification but just listing the journals you read would be sufficient for this category - assuming the journals are relevant to clinical practice of course!

Would this apply to sitting-in on another orthoptist's clinic?

This could include sitting-in on another orthoptist's clinic if the orthoptist was performing an activity (eg investigative procedure, management technique) that is new to you. For example, you might attend a colleague's clinic to learn how to perform immersion A scans. This would be quite acceptable as a CPD activity (assuming you do not do immersion A scans now!)

Who sets the activities and how do we access them?

The Board is compiling a list of suggested CPD websites and this will be added to over time. If you find a site you think would be eligible for accreditation, submit the web address to the Board for approval and we can also add this to the suggested sites list being developed.

A number of USA hospital sites have CPD questions based on case presentations. For example Richmond Eye Clinic has a clinical page where cases are presented and discussed. This does not require a log in and can be accessed free of charge by any one.

Organizations such as Medscape require subscription but it is free.

Why does an international meeting attract 10 points and a local meeting only 2 or 3 points? Surely lots of useful info could be gained at a local meeting also. You would still be putting in the same hours of "work" but the orthoptists who could afford international travel would have a definite almost unfair advantage.

More points should be allocated for attending an activity where material is presented by a speaker of high professional standing. The limitation in the current breakdown is that it does not acknowledge Australian expertise and there will always be an issue of what is the difference between a local conference conducted in France (for example) that would be considered international if an Australian attended and the IOA Congress which happened to be located in Australia in 2004.

Conferences can be upgraded and this will be decided when CPD accreditation of the activity is applied for - it is why we want to know what the program is and who the speakers are.

You do not necessarily have to travel overseas to attend an international conference. It is quite possible an organization such as the Lions Eye Institute could host a conference with speakers of sufficient standing to upgrade the points allocation.

Am I right in assuming that accreditation does not need to be sought for the IOA Congress and that I just quote the number from the Schedule of Accredited Activities?

There is a list of pre-approved conferences such as the IOA Congress in the Schedule of Activities. All conferences and meetings on the pre-approved list will be accredited and attract the points indicated in the Points Allocation guidelines.

However, it is still necessary for the organiser of pre-approved conferences and meetings to submit an application for accreditation with a copy of the program and detail of the speakers within 3 months of the meeting. This is to ensure (a) the standard of the conference/ meeting is at the expected level, and (b) to permit an upgrade of points in the case of high quality speakers and/or content.

It is easy to check if it has already been accepted as a CPD activity as all activities accredited to date are listed with the Reference Code and Points Allocated. In the case of the 2004 IOA Congress the Reference Code was 2-04_04.

If the conference does not have a Ref number, it may still be claimed by writing "pre-app" as the Reference Code and claiming the number of points indicated in the Points Allocation guidelines. And if you submit the activity with a copy of the program, you may be rewarded with additional points!

Do inservice courses count eg a Braille Awareness seminar at the Royal Blind Society?

Yes, relevant inservice courses count depending on the subject areas, presenters and orthoptic relevance.

Seminars and workshops are likely sources and should be submitted for accreditation if you think the content provides an opportunity to learn in an area relevant to orthoptics.

Information indicates that only activities undertaken "since 1 July 2011" are counted. Does this mean all activities completed before July 2011 will not be considered?

Yes - activities undertaken before July 2011 cannot be counted toward the next Certificate of Currency, available from July 2013.

CPD is an indication of currency in workplace practice so the Board can only consider activities from the current 2 year cycle.

Activities can be accredited up to 3 months retrospectively so if the activity is not already listed in the Schedule, please submit it for consideration.

If I have attended a conference that is not on the "Recognised conferences list", and I no longer have the receipt, can I send you the conference's program for consideration? If so, where and who should I send it to?

If an activity is not on the approved list you can apply to have it recognised and accredited up to 3 months after it has taken place.  Complete the CPD Activity Accreditation online form.

Receipts to indicate attendance are only required for verification of attendance and will be requested if you are selected for audit purposes. The conference program will not be enough for audit purposes.

Would you please clarify what is a “placement” - I have on average 2 students 3 sessions per week. What would equal a placement?

Unfortunately there is a lot of variation between training schools and clinics! As a guide, each student 3 sessions per week counts as 1 placement.

This attracts 5 points per session per student placement, up to a maximum of 20 points.

Cat 1: Education - upgrade of qualifications
Cat 4: Self Education - Reading Activities

a) Tertiary study relevant to orthoptic practice (including research degrees) will be accepted as a Self Assessed (S/A) activity.

List the number of semesters enrolled to 30 June and claim 5 points per semester, to a maximum of 20 points. Include relevant information such as institution/topic on your claim form.

b) It is NOT necessary to pre approve Category 4: Self-education Reading Activities where the reading material is directly relevant to your practice.

Registrants record on the CPD Claim Form the details of the journal, ie title, date/volume, name of article/s and author/s then nominate the points to be received. Points are allocated at 1 point per article to a maximum of 3 points per journal.

Accredited Ref No: In the Activity Reference write "S/A" indicating that this is a Self Assessed activity

How do you acquire points for the websites available to us? Today I visited the website at Richmond Eye Assoc, then I clicked into ophthalmic cases and studied the 2 cases with acquired intermittent vertical diplopia. How many points is this worth and how do I document this?

As this website is already listed on the AOB page the activities are pre approved. Just download the cases as evidence of your activity in case of audit.

If the site is not listed on the AOB website, please forward the web address to the Board so that we can look at the type of activity. If it is approved it is worth 2 points.

Once the Board has seen and approved the type/level of activity the website will be added to our list of approved activities for reference by you and other registrants. Approval of a website only needs to be applied for once in a given CPD period.

What is the procedure to apply for exemption from point accrual for part of the current biennial term?

Participation in the Continuing Professional Development program, commencing with the 2017-2019 cycle, is compulsory to maintain registration.

Participation in CPD indicates to employers, the public and other professional bodies that you have kept up to date with professional education and undertaken activities in the previous two years.

My paper has recently been published in a journal. Do I need to apply for accreditation?

It is not necessary to accredit a paper published in a refereed scientific journal or recognised conference transactions, but you will need to keep the publication details in case of audit.

You should submit for accreditation if the status of the publication is not certain ie it is not in a recognised scientific journal.

What criteria is used to assess a CPD activity
for accreditation?

Applications for accreditation must provide sufficient information to assess the CPD activity and demonstrate:
a) that it provides development beyond the competencies required as a beginning practitioner,
b) its relevance to orthoptic practice/knowledge,
c) the participation level required, and
d) the time involved in the activity.

Accreditation can be applied for up to 3 months after the activity date.

I attended an orthoptic meeting last year - can I still apply for accreditation?

Within three months of the activity: You may submit an application for assessment prior to the activity taking place but it must be no later than three months after the activity date.

Check the list of accredited activities - it may be there if someone else has submitted it.

Orthoptists and Private Health Insurances Accreditation Rules effective from 1 July 2009

Changes in the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 require a practitioner to be recognized by an accredited body before a Private Health Fund can give a rebate to patients. Orthoptists are covered under a new rule to this Act - Rule 10 – which came into force on 1st July 2009.

Medibank Private has acknowledged the Australian Orthoptic Board as the suitable body to accredit Orthoptists and Registrants who hold a CPD Certificate of Currency are eligible for a health provider number from Medibank Private.

All Private Health Insurers are bound by this legislation and are likely to follow Medibank Private's lead requesting verification of registration and a Certificate of Currency from the Board.

Is our Orthoptist allowed to check medications with our nurses? Is this part of your scope of practice?

Orthoptists undertake a basic subject in pharmacology. They are expected to understand the mechanisms of action of the classes of drugs used in ophthalmic practice and be aware of the potential side effects and contraindications. They are not qualified to prescribe or dispense medication. So it would depend what your Orthoptist is doing - checking a patient has the correct medication that was prescribed by an ophthalmologist and is taking the dosage as indicated by the ophthalmologist seems reasonable but not to take responsibility for prescribing or altering medication in any way.

The drugs and poisons act or similar in each state specifies requirements to obtain, prescribe, dispense medications. Orthoptists are bound by those Acts.

I require a service provider number but so far have not been able to reach the total of 50 CPD points. Would a lower number of points be considered?

No. Employers, private health insurance agencies and other government bodies accept the AOB CPD accreditation as evidence of your continuing professional development so the Board cannot accept a reduced number of points.

The number of points - 50 over two years - is quite low and there is a wide range of activities available to you. Orthoptics Australia provides many accredited activities, hospitals and university departments all provide good quality and appropriate CPD activities in addition to journal and internet access.


[ Junl 18 ]