Vision 2020 lobbies Productivity Commission

The recommendations were the cornerstone of a report submitted to the Productivity Commission as part of an inquiry into human services, which focused on better access to effective and reliable services.Vision 2020 was invited to comment on the Inquiry into introducing competition and informed user choice into human services, and its policy submission was based in part on the results of the 2016 National Eye Health Survey (NEHS).Other proposals included regular reviews and ongoing funding for the Visiting Optometrists Sche and more staff trained in the provision for health services in rote communities.The report declared the current level of eye health and vision care service delivery in rote Aboriginal communities as inadequate and warned that introducing competition needed to be balanced against the impact this could have among existing service providers.“In rote areas, increased competition when providing outreach services can in some cases lead to fragmented service coordination,” the report stated.“Any improvents from introducing greater competition, contestability and user choice will be limited without addressing the underlying issues regarding funding and funding certainty.“Consultation and greater engagent with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations is essential. In addition, greater integration and coordination among service providers would work to improve service delivery in rote communities.”According to the NEHS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are three times more likely to suffer from blindness and vision loss than Australia’s non-Indigenous population.Cataract, curable with a 15-minute minor operation, is the leading cause of blindness among Aboriginal people while uncorrected refractive error is the source of almost two-thirds of vision impairment.Additionally, approximately half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants with diabetes were found not to be having an eye examination at the frequency recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council.The Commission’s final report will be provided to the Federal Government in October 2017.