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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 March 2005 2005) . . Page.. 694 ..


The bill recommends that the Optometrists Board of the ACT allow a registered optometrist to prescribe and use certain medicines in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients’ eye conditions if the board is satisfied that the optometrist meets the competency standards approved by the New South Wales Optometrists Drug Authority Committee. Under the proposed amendments, an optometrist in the ACT who meets the competency standards would be able to prescribe the same medicines as would an equally qualified optometrist in New South Wales. This means it would not be necessary to establish a separate ACT infrastructure to govern separate administrative arrangements. Most importantly, the people of the ACT will have improved access to, and choice of, professionals to provide them with care for their eyes.

At this stage, it is important that I foreshadow some government amendments to this bill that I have circulated today. The bill, as members would be aware, amends the Poisons Act 1933 to allow optometrists to sell, and therefore supply, medicines for patients in the course of their practice. This means that an optometrist will be able to charge the patient for any diagnostic agent used in the consultation or, if necessary, to supply a patient with a small amount of medicine for use at home. This reflects a similar situation where doctors have the right to sell, and therefore supply, medicines to their patients. The Pharmacy Board of the ACT, the body in charge of maintaining the professional conduct of pharmacists in the territory, has requested that I add a clarification to the bill to make it clear that optometrists and nurse practitioners will only be allowed to sell or supply medicines in the course of their professional practice.

The Optometrists Board of the ACT, the body charged with maintaining the professional conduct of optometrists, has agreed with the position of the pharmacy board. It has also confirmed that optometrists are not seeking the right to sell medicines in a retail setting from their shops. Therefore, to provide reassurance and certainty to both professions, the government’s proposed amendment will add two explanatory notes to the relevant sections of the Poisons Act 1933 to make this position clear. I will be moving these amendments during the detail stage. I commend the bill to the Assembly and thank members for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.57): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 1 and 2 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I move amendments Nos 1 and 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 741] together and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendments.


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