Clearer vision in Woorabinda

From today (19 May), patients at the Woorabinda Multipurpose Health Service now have access to first class optometry equipment. Generous donations from the BHP Benefitting My Community program and CheckUP Australia have made this possible.

Karen Hale-Robertson, Deputy CEO from CheckUP said that this new eye equipment has the potential to significantly enhance the range and quality of services that this centre can offer to local community members accessing the Visiting Optometrists Scheme.

CheckUP has been coordinating the Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS) through a partnership agreement with the Australian Government Department of Health since 2015. The aim of the VOS is to deliver outreach optometry services to people living in regional, rural, and remote locations, who do not have ready access to primary eye care services. This includes expanded services to improve eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in rural and remote locations.

Ms Hale-Robertson said a recent consultative needs assessment conducted by CheckUP’s Indigenous Eye Health Coordinator revealed that new optometry equipment was urgently required to enable the Woorabinda service to meet minimum best practice standards.

BHP’s Benefitting My Community Program supports initiatives that will create immediate impact for the community and contribute to its overall liveability. This includes activities that improve health and wellbeing through better access to health services and resources; activities that improve access to essential community services and increase participation by marginalised and vulnerable groups; or activities that enhance community cohesion.

The new eye equipment includes a tonometer which helps determine whether a patient may be at risk of developing glaucoma, a digital acuity chart with remote control, a full aperture trial lens set, a universal type trial frame, a refractor head and a new chair for patients.

BHP Benefitting My Community program donated almost $10,000 to the new equipment and CheckUP, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Health, contributed $24,000.

What is CheckUP doing?

  • CheckUP works with our partner organisations and health providers to create healthier communities and reduce health inequities. Through our current range of health programs and initiatives, CheckUP has an established footprint in 198 communities across Queensland.
  • The objective of the VOS is to improve the eye health of people in regional, rural, and remote Queensland locations by:
    • increasing optometry services in areas of identified need.
    • improving the coordination and integration of those eye health services and the quality of ongoing patient care.
    • enhancing communication between visiting optometrists, local health providers and other visiting health professionals.
  • Between 2017/18 – 2019/20, CheckUP coordinated 13 eye clinic days at the Woorabinda Multipurpose Health Service and 284 patients received treatment from a visiting optometrist or ophthalmologist.
  • In a typical year, 100-150 patients could be expected to benefit from this project on an annual basis.