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IDEAS Van on the road to Victoria

22/05/2019By Myles Hume
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The Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening (IDEAS) Van is expanding into Victoria, making it the first state outside of Queensland to have access to the free mobile treatment facility.

As part of the new ‘Look Out Project’, the IDEAS Van has partnered with Rural Workforce Agency Victoria, the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian Government Department of Health to bring the clinic to five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities in Victoria from July.

Originating in Queensland in 2014, the IDEAS Van is a fully equipped, three-room ophthalmic treatment clinic designed to screen and treat Indigenous patients for eye disease. It is manned by ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists, and has to date treated 3,933 patients.

On its current schedule the van visit eight Aboriginal Medical and Wellness Services across rural and remote Queensland every two months. It will now travel thousands of additional kilometers to add Victoria to its circuit. 

Lyndall De Marco
Lyndall De Marco
“Travelling from Far North Queensland to southern Victoria visiting each state every eight weeks is a journey that will make such a difference to so many people’s lives”
Lyndall De Marco, IDEAS Van

“We are delighted that the IDEAS Van facility will be able to enhance the work already being done in Victoria demonstrating the value of this versatile mobile ophthalmic vehicle,” IDEAS Van Partnership CEO Ms Lyndall De Marco said.

“Travelling from Far North Queensland to southern Victoria visiting each state every eight weeks is a journey that will make such a difference to so many people’s lives.”

In Victoria, the clinic will attend patients at Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service, Albury; Moogji Aboriginal Co-operative, Orbost; IPC Health, Wyndham Vale; Winda-Mara Aboriginal Co-operative, Heywood; and Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-operative, Robinvale.

De Marco said the van would stay at each site for one day and visit every two months. All medication and services are bulk-billed and free of charge. Clients identified as requiring cataract surgery will be referred into the Eye and Ear Surgical Support Service program for treatment.

“The complexities associated with eye healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders arise from a myriad of issues across primary, secondary and tertiary settings,” De Marco said.

“It is compounded by limited access to these services across Victoria and Queensland with lengthy wait times for outpatient appointments and minimal bulk-billing diabetic retinopathy treatment outside the tertiary setting.”

The announcement comes after the IDEAS Van announced a new agreement with CQ Health in February, allowing the health body to run eye clinics from the facility at its Gladstone and Emerald hospitals.

 

More reading:

Mobile eye health van seals partnership with public hospital
Federal Government grant saves IDEAS Van from closure
Carl Zeiss
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