Whilst we appreciate that there is general fatigue about COVID-19, the ongoing and varying restrictions around the country are a stark reminder that this pandemic is not over and its impact on our sector continues.
A recent snap-poll that we conducted via our website around working conditions, indicates that it will probably be some time yet before optometry, in general, returns to pre-COVID conditions. We do appreciate that for many members business has significantly improved over the past 2-3 months from what it was in April when we were at the height of the first wave of the pandemic and when all of Australia was in lockdown.
If you cast your minds back, in May 2020, Optometry Australia undertook an initiative to find out how optometrists were faring and to ensure our services were meeting your needs. To assist this, we first needed to determine the impact the COVID-19 pandemic was having on you and on your practices and we asked you to participate in a survey.
The survey results highlight that very few of our members escaped the impact of the pandemic lockdown. As an evidence-based profession, like us, you can use this data wisely to seek out the opportunities that come from an understanding of the environment in which we continue to find ourselves.
The results also emphasise the necessity for us to work together to ensure that, as a community, we are in a stronger position to overcome future disruption resulting not only from a pandemic but other major unforeseen events. We need to do this together so that we can take control of the future of optometry and evolve and sustain our profession.
Optometry Australia CEO Lyn Brodie, said that although this research provides a snapshot in time and that business has subsequently improved along with consumer demand for eye examinations, a recent poll of members around working conditions indicates that it will probably be some time yet before optometry, in general, returns to pre-COVID conditions.
“We believe that around 50% of optometrists in Australia are currently working fewer hours now than they were pre-COVID-19. It is critical that they can return to optimal working capacity as quickly as possible to support community eye health needs”.
Optometry Australia sends its thoughts to all members who are still being impacted by the pandemic. The organisation is here to support you.
For further COVID-19 clarification or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our Member Support Advisor Helpdesk on 03 9668 8500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our COVID-19 hub on Optometry Australia website.