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New specialist eye clinic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients opens in Fitzroy

2022-09-21 15:56:44

A new specialist eye clinic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients has opened in Fitzroy as a partnership between The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS). This full service clinic is the first of its kind in a community controlled organisation in Australia.

This is a significant and practical step forward in closing the gap for Aboriginal patients who need specialist eye health care. The clinic aims to address the existing and growing demand for specialist eye care among the community by providing service for both paediatric and adults patients in a culturally safe environment. 

The clinic will be staffed by Ophthalmologists and Orthoptists supported by Aboriginal Health Workers, who work as a team to target patients with eye disease and has state of the art equipment which allows for injection and laser treatment for serious and ongoing eye conditions.

The clinic builds on the success of the Healthy Ears clinic, another partnership between the Eye and Ear and VAHS which provides ear care services for children. 

Ophthalmologist Dr Rosie Dawkins is delighted with the quality of care that can be delivered. “This clinic is the first full service ophthalmology clinic within an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation. The equipment is state of the art. But more importantly, the partnership between VAHS and The Eye and Ear, and the friendships we have developed during the process, will be an asset in delivering care to the community,” Dr Dawkins said. 

VAHS CEO, Michael Graham notes that “This is another meaningful partnership arrangement between a tertiary provider and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service which is key to increasing access to specialised services which support closing the health gap and addressing local access to the specific medical needs of the Victorian Aboriginal community.”

The clinic will run fortnightly at the VAHS site in Fitzroy and is supported by funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Caption: The Eye and Ear and VAHS staff cutting the cake to mark the official opening of the clinic in December 2019.

Left to right: 
Dr Rosie Dawkins, Ophthalmologist, The Eye and Ear
Gavin Brown, General Manager of Operations, VAHS 
Natalie Tieri, Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer, The Eye and Ear
Brendon Gardner, The Eye and Ear, CEO

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