Zeiss has donated a suite of ophthalmic equipment worth an estimated $1.5 million to the Kimberley region’s first permanent eye clinic based in Broome, which opened for the first time to patients last week.
The Northwest Hub is a former backpacker accommodation that Lions Outback Vision (LOV) has been transforming into the new eyecare facility, featuring at least two resident ophthalmologists available for 24-hour emergency support
Through a hub-and-spoke model, the centre will service six towns through outreach ophthalmology services and 20 communities through outreach optometry, while providing state-wide telehealth coverage, seminar rooms and open space for community diabetic health education.
Zeiss has provided the hub and the regional spokes with equipment to a level that would be seen in metropolitan centres.
To date, for the Northwest Hub, the company has donated a range of new equipment including a Cirrus 6000 OCT with Angioplex OCT angiography, Clarus 700 ultra-widefield retinal camera, IOL Master 700, Humphrey Field Analyser 3, Lumera 700 surgical microscope, retinal laser, YAG laser and two slit lamps.
Refurbished equipment as part of the initiative’s “back to the bush program” has also been donated, including three IOL Master 500s and two Humphrey Field Analysers (HFA).
“One of the three goals of the Carl Zeiss Foundation is to promote charitable interests. In this, our 175th year since inception and our 60th year of operations in Australia, we cannot think of a better way to honour this goal than to support the life-changing work Lions Outback Vision through the Northwest Hub will perform,” Zeiss Australasia manager director Mr Joe Redner said.
“We think this is fully in the spirit of Carl Zeiss, and we wish the new team every success in fulfilling its mission.”
Clinic now open to patients
LOV manager Ms Christine Stott said the new equipment was recently installed in the new Kimberley Hub clinic which saw its first patient on 12 April.
“The refurbished equipment has been located at the ‘spokes’ or regional hospitals where the teams travel to from the Kimberley Hub to run clinics or perform surgery or hold outpatient clinics at the hospital,” she said.
The newly opened clinic building is the first part of the renovation of the old Kimberley Klub Backpackers Accommodation – donated by Wen Giving Foundation and Hawaiian. In addition, Stott said support from Alcon, Topcon, Novartis, Australian Capital Equity, the Fred Hollows Foundation and the WA and Commonwealth governments have contributed to making the facility state-of-the art.
The Northwest Hub has also been designed to provide two apartments for doctors and visitors on the first floor. The second part of the refurbishment will commence in early July when the old communal, kitchen and reception areas of the complex will be become office space, consulting rooms, meeting and training rooms and a healthy food kiosk.
“This building will be the heart of our community focused activities and provide space for interdisciplinary health services to work in collaboration,” Stott said.
Currently, McCusker Director of LOV Associate Professor Angus Turner and Dr Vaibhav Shah are the resident ophthalmic consultants permanently located in Broome. Each year an un-accredited registrar will relocate to Broome for the year. This year Dr Rachael Heath Jeffery is in that role.
“We also have a resident optometrist, Stephen Copeland, a resident registered nurse, Sarah Burke, a resident Aboriginal Health Worker, Kerry Woods a resident practice manager, Amy Kerr. In July we will have a second resident optometrist in Broome,” Stott said.
“Having three resident ophthalmologists serving the Kimberley region is breaking new ground in eye health services in WA. Between them, the additional resident eye health staff and the amazing array of equipment supplied by Zeiss we are now able to offer first rate eye health care with state-of-the-art equipment.”