The office has received and dealt with numerous complaints, queries and some clarity seeking questions on the scope and practice of the optometric and dispensing profession.
Key amongst the complaints are listed here-under
- Mobile complaints
- Advertising misleading
- Practice Ownership
- Consumer Act ( understanding consumer rights )
- Unprofessional conduct
Complaint: An optometrist that is conducting an unapproved mobile, travelling and visiting areas were optometric services are readily available and that optometrist’s practice is not in the area
The company employee touts and canvasses on the optometrist behalf by inviting employees and setting up appointments. Acting on the complaint the optometrist sighted ignorance of the requirements to conduct a mobile practice.
The complaint was referred t o the HPCSA legal department for sanctioning .
This is the norm amongst all mobile operators they claim ignorance of the Ethical rules of conduct set by the PBODO (HPCSA) on conducting mobile practice.
Wellness days become a fertile ground for unregistered mobiles to take advantage of the ignorance of human resource managers on the requirements of screening participation by Optometrist.I would like the PBODO (HPCSA) to publish the list of all approved mobiles and the areas of operations and be able to monitor them.
Rural areas are not well serviced by Mobile practices and with the roll out of NHI in 2014 we need such mode of optometric services. We need to reduce in equalities in our optometric health services.
Here below are the extracts of ANNEXURE 8 Rules of conduct pertaining the Optometric Profession and Dispensing Optician (HEALTH PROFESSIONS COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA) PBODO
An optometrist may conduct vision screening at an industrial corporate, community or school center provided that
(a) The screening is conducted as an entry investigative procedure to identify individuals in need of referral for a comprehensive eye examination
(b) No definitive diagnosis is made, management is prescribed or prescription is given at the screening center.
(c) The outcome of the screening process including referral notes for the individuals identified as requiring further eye examination and statistical reports for the center concerned are recorded
(d) No canvassing of or touting for a patient is done by or on behalf of the screening practitioner
(e) Patients are not mislead into believing that the screening is compulsory
Provisions of conducting mobile
(a) An optometrist may conduct a mobile practice in areas whose optometric services are not readily available with a provision that
(b)The practice operates in a defined area only
(c) The equipment used for a comprehensive visual examination in that practice is as defined in the guide lines issued by the board from time to time
(d) Prior written approved to conduct such mobile practice is obtained from the board
(e) Optical appliances dispensing is conducted by the practitioner at the site visited
(f) The practitioner operating the practice also has an established practice from which the mobile practice is operated from
(6)Patients are informed of the contact details of the established practice and of the nearest health facility with which the practitioner has made arrangements for emergency ocular health care.
Complaint: Optometrist put up an advert calling members of the public to purchase an eye examination and they will get a T-shirt, designer belt, watch and a bag.
The office of the Ombudsperson managed to point out this unethical advertising and the optometrist removed all those non optometric merchandise from the window display.
Some TV adverts violates the ethical rules of conduct and has been referred to the Legal department of the HPCSA for consideration.
A query was raised by a member on the corporate entity owning an optometric practice of which is not registered with the HPCSA.
Employment of optometrist by unregistered persons – Refer to the HPCSA-committee on undesirable business practice for clarification.
Optometrist should be familiar with the fundamental consumer rights to avoid litigations:
1 Right to fair value, good quality and safety
2. Right to fair just and reasonable terms and conditions
3. Right to fair and honest dealing
4. Right to fair and responsible marketing
5. Right to disclosure
6. Right to choose
7. Right to Privacy
8 Right of Equality
UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT –RELATIONSHIP WITH COLLEAGUES
Complaint: Optometrist refused to release a patient prescription to another colleague .The legal department forwarded to the HPCSA Ombudsman for consideration.
Optometrists are urged to foster good relations amongst colleagues for the benefit and interest of patients.
All for the promotion of ethical practice of the Optometric profession
Nkosi Lucky Ombudsperson