0012 Optometry Australia

General information

Submitterʼs name
Optometry Australia
Submitted on behalf of
Professional body or industry association

About the submission

Please select the industry your submission is in relation to. If required, you may select multiple industries.
Health Care and Social Assistance
Please identify which occupations your submission relates to:
Specific occupations (eg Chief Executive or Managing Director)
Please choose all occupations to which your submission relates.
251411 Optometrist


1. Are there additional labour market factors, for which there are national datasets available (ideally aligned to 6-digit ANZSCO occupation level), that are relevant to future refinements to the Departmentʼs analysis and methodology?

What is the frequency of data release?

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency undertakes workforce analysis when health practitioners re-register each year. These data are available at http://data.hwa.gov.au/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml and include information on hours worked and location of principal place of practice. For optometry, data are available two years after collection. Early access to data would allow an up-to-date picture of the state of a workforce and indicate whether practitioners seem to be over- or under-employed. Completion of the workforce survey is voluntary.
Workforce data are available for a number of health professions and could easily be aligned to 6-digit ANZSCO occupation levels.
Optometrist population ratios in different regions of Australia can show regional differences and areas of need. In optometry, many areas of need do not have a population large enough to support an optometrist other than in a visiting capacity.
Important information can be obtained from optometry school graduate numbers. Until 2015, 3 Australian optometry schools produced sufficient graduates to meet the needs of the Australian population. From 2018 there will be 6 schools, with the possibility of an additional school soon after. The Australian population has not increased by the same proportion in this time.
Total optometric Medicare service numbers and per capita service rates in different areas of Australia can indicate areas where there appears to be low service provision.

2. The Department is also seeking submissions on suitable datasets that are disaggregated by region. Please provide details if you are aware of such a dataset, including whether it is aligned to ANZSCO occupations and how often the dataset is updated.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency dataset is able to provide principal practice locations for optometrists, thus giving regional information at the level of local government area, remoteness area, primary health network, or as defined within the modified Monash model.
As well as this, Medicare provider numbers for optometrists are assigned on the basis of practice address so practitioners may have a number of provider numbers depending on the number of locations at which they practice. These data showing the number of provider numbers in different regions would need to be obtained from the Department of Health.
Medicare data also provide information about service delivery by optometrists in different regions.

3. Is there any other advice or evidence that the Department should consider in its review of the methodology?

Optometry Australia undertakes studies projecting the optometric workforce on an occasional basis, but these studies are costly as they require the services of demographers from outside the organisation. The most recent of these collaborative projects was led by demographers from the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University working with staff from Optometry Australia. The collaboration resulted in a paper published in 2015 entitled ‘Optometric Supply and Demand in Australia: 2011-2036 (copy attached). The paper made projections using then current weightings for mortality, attrition, proportion of optometrists in active practice, working hours, immigration, new graduates and hours per equivalent full-time optometrist (EFTO) per week available for Medicare services. The paper presented modelling results of the relationship between the projected Australian optometric workforce and projected demand for optometric services for the period 2011 to 2036. Nine hypothetical optometric supply-side and demand-side scenarios were presented. In 2036, projections indicated an excess of optometrists in relation to projected demand for services, if service utilisation was maintained at then current levels or increased by 10 or 20 per cent.
Optometry Australia also monitors the number of optometric registrations with the Optometry Board of Australia, the number of graduates from Australian optometry schools, together with the number of optometrists who obtain positive skills assessments for the purposes of migration from the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand. Optometry Australia also monitors Medicare optometric service numbers and how per capita use of optometry services varies throughout Australia. These data can be used to determine if there are areas of need or undersupply.
The data described above is specific to optometry and hence to the 6-digit ANZSCO occupation levels.
Do you have any supporting material for your submission?
Yes (see attachments)

These files have not been modified and are published as supplied

If you have trouble accessing this document, please contact the Department to request a copy in a format you can use.

Last modified on Friday 10 November 2017 [38941|92431]