The Terrace Eye Centre has had a philosophy of providing outreach ophthalmology services to areas of need across QLD since its inception. This has been both direct support by having Ophthalmologists visit rural centres, but also to ensure that patients from rural and regional Australia, particularly our indigenous have accessible and affordable services at the Terrace Eye Centre.
We always ensure that the patients are fitted into the various ophthalmologists’ busy schedules in a timely fashion. This obviously supports the GPs and optometrist in those rural and regional areas who often find it difficult to access speciality services in the city.
One of our ophthalmologists, Dr Bill Glasson, along with Professor Denis Stark, who has retired from visiting services, now being replaced by Dr Sunil Warrier, had been providing services to western QLD for the past 26 years, 3 times a year they have been visiting Blackhall, Barcaldine, Longreach and Winton, and once a year they service Birdsville, Bedourie and Boulia. They provide a hub and spoke model with a consultations and lasers being done in each individual town but the surgery being done in Longreach. A full range of surgical services are provided in Longreach apart from vitreo-retinal surgery. This is allowed our rural patients, particularly indigenous, direct access to specialist ophthalmology services in their local towns, addressing the issues of access and affordability. For patients in the bush, travelling to the city can not only be expensive but often very traumatic. Part of the visiting service is to continue to educate our rural GPs and optometrists as to changes occurring in the field of ophthalmology. We have been very fortunate to have a team of rural GPs who are highly skilled in basic ophthalmology and provide tremendous support to their patients but also to the Ophthalmologists who visit those areas. When we are not there, most of those primary ophthalmology conditions are diagnosed and treated by the local GPs and optometrists, but we do have telehealth services in Longreach with photographs of the front and back of the eye can be undertaken, and they can directly link with the Terrace Eye Centre for an online consultation.
For those of you who are reading this and have never been to western QLD to see the dinosaurs of Winton, the QANTAS museum in Longreach, or the colours and contrast of the Simpson Desert, please take the opportunity at some stage in your future to do it. You will be inspired by it, and it will remind you what is important in life.