ASO EyeWatch July 2020 Edition

Message from the President Peter Sumich

ASO Media

One of our key projects at ASO this year has been an attempt to raise the voice and profile of ophthalmologists in the media.  We want to be the first voice in eye health issues and the appointment of Sally Symonds as our National Media and Communications Manager is certainly paying dividends. We have engaged with major media almost a dozen times over the last quarter on commercial radio, television and in print media.
Most recently ABC television devoted a segment to Dr Mitchel Lee who is our ‘hero of the month’.  Mitchell, a trainee ophthalmologist, voluntarily stranded himself in Broken Hill over the COVID lockdown to care for the patients in his district who would need intravitreal injections and other essential eye care.  The ABC TV interview is below.  Other media links are on the ASO website.
We have asked in the past but remind ASO members that any stories of interest to the media are welcome so please contact Sally with your ideas.  There are so many great stories to tell about the work and research undertaken by Australian ophthalmologists so we are calling on all media stars to contact us with your ideas and Sally will promote your idea to her media contacts.

A request

RANZCO is currently undertaking a workforce survey.  This survey will inform the government about the future training needs and distribution of ophthalmologists.  If you do not fill in the survey then do not complain if the government want to train 1000 more eye doctors who will arrive next door to you in suburbia.  You can request a copy of the survey to complete here.  Please take 5 minutes to fill it out and get 6 CPD points in the process.  Do it – please.

ASO Expo

The ASO Expo is planned for October 23 – 25 and plans are progressing well.  We will be forwarding you the program very soon.  COVID-19 is a constant threat but we will proceed if at all possible.  CPD points will be welcomed for many as will a trip to CBD Melbourne over Grand Final week.  We have received great feedback from younger fellows who have found the ASO expo to be great value.  This year the younger fellows President A/Prof Chameen Samarawickrama is hosting his own session to focus on issues specific to younger fellows as they traverse the early years.

New RANZCO President

Finally, congratulations to Dr Nitin Verma, the new RANZCO President.  ASO applauds the appointment of Dr Verma who is notably a wise, charismatic and popular colleague.  The College will be in very good hands with his guidance.

The Power of Social Media

We all know social media is here to stay.  According to the Deloitte report, ‘Tracking the Trends’, the ripple effect of good social media practices can extend beyond industry itself to influence government policy and contribute to a better social climate”.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers an interesting analysis of ‘Navigating Social Media in #Ophthalmology’ which you can see here.

Interview with: Deb Jackson

One of the most highly anticipated sessions at this year’s Expo is “Cyber Security: What are the risks?”  The ASO is lucky to have secured the services of MDA National’s Medico-legal Advisory Counsel Deb Jackson.  

What drew you to your role? 

My first career was as a registered nurse.  I then studied law with a view to representing  healthcare professionals and health institutions.  After I gained some experience in a law firm this role at MDA National was an obvious step which allows me to draw on my healthcare background and my legal skills.  What particularly drew me this role was the variety of opportunities to assist members of the professions –  by supporting them through difficult times, advising on their medico-legal obligations and by providing education.  My main objective was and remains to make a positive difference for the profession.

Tell us a little bit more about what you / what your company does?

MDA National provides professional indemnity insurance to clinicians and practice policy  insurance.  We provide accurate, empathic and timely advice to our members and their staff.  We have a 24-hour Medico-legal Advisory Service available to our members and practice staff.  We represent our members when they are the subject of claims and or disciplinary proceedings.  We pride ourselves on the depth of expertise in our organisation.

MDA National has a highly regarded education program and team focusing on professional issues and legal developments which impact on the practice of medicine.  These include; face to face workshops, online activities, webinars and podcasts.  We publish a quarterly bulletin in print and online reporting on current medico-legal issues and we actively blog about  the most recent developments.  Our website is a valuable source of up to date information for our members and has been particularly helpful in the current epidemic.

Throughout my 17 years working at MDA National  I have been keenly interested in educating clinicians regarding their medico legal obligations, developments in medical law, emerging risks and their impact on their practice of medicine.  I have taken a special interest in advocating for the profession in relation to many issues including mandatory reporting, Medical Board of Australia and AHPRA proposals and My Health Records. 

What have been some of the highlights in your most recent work / career?

The issues related to Covid-19 will be an unforgettable time for us all.  The medico legal issues changed (and continue to change) after every state and federal ministerial directive.  Keeping our members supplied with accurate and timely advice was a real challenge and a very rewarding one.  The epidemic has had a  profound impact on the way clinicians practice medicine.  Our  role and has been to ensure that our members are aware of the changes and  guidelines, that they continue to  practice safe medicine and ensure the safety of their patients, themselves and the public.

What advice would you give to people starting out their career?

Find something that you’re passionate about.  Being a medico-legal advisor is not a 9 to 5 job, it’s a vocation. 

Queen’s Birthday Honours List

On 8 June the Governor-General announced the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List, recognising outstanding Australians who have made a contribution to their community.  We are very pleased to announce that two members of the ophthalmic community, Dr Arthur Brinner and Dr Harold Spiro, were acknowledged in this list. We congratulate them both on their exceptional achievements. 

S&P 500 trading above pre-COVID price to earnings ratio

COVID–19 has certainly lived up to all expectations as a disaster of significant global proportions. The ramifications of the virus are impacting just about all aspects of life. From a health, economic and political perspective, things have changed, and for investors it has created challenges, as well as opportunities.  Read more about the best way to navigate the current situation from our alliance partners, Cutcher and Neale here.

And the winner is…

Thank you to everyone who has recently paid their membership fees for the year ahead.  Members who renewed by 30th June not only managed to claim an immediate tax deduction, but also went in the draw to win one of three Good Food Guide Restaurant cards valued at $300 each.  Congratulations to our winners:  Dr Alan Flax, Dr Andrew Kaines and Dr David Kaufman

Overdue Memberships

Remember if you haven’t yet renewed your membership then the best time to do it is now.  Click here to see the easiest ways to renew your membership now.

New Members

Welcome aboard to the new members who have recently joined the ASO:

Dr Charlotte McKnight
Dr Daniel Wei Keung Chiu
Dr Nathan Nielsen
Dr David Gunn
Dr Michael Shid
Dr David Workman
John Vandenbosch

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