Mo­bile clinic has top vi­sion

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

A spe­cial­ist eye health van has made its first stop in the Pil­bara to bring high-tech­nol­ogy care to lo­cal pa­tients.

The Lions Out­back Vi­sion Van and its team of three oph­thal­mol­o­gists and one nurse has started its first round trip around re­gional WA, treat­ing a range of eye con­di­tions us­ing the lat­est test­ing equip­ment.

It set out about a month ago and has vis­ited Onslow and Kar­ratha in the past few weeks.

Se­nior oph­thal­mol­o­gist Chathri Amaratunge said the van was fit­ted out with ad­vanced eye-test­ing equip­ment that “you can’t get any­where else” in the re­gions.

“We’ve pretty much got the new­est equip­ment on this van,” she said.

“It means a much big­ger pro­por­tion of peo­ple now are go­ing to have the same level of care up here as what they would have down in the city.

“It means that pretty much any test that you want as an oph­thal­mol­o­gist, you can get done on this van. So it’s go­ing to save a lot of trips down to Perth.”

The van was launched in March by WA Deputy Premier Liza Har­vey to re­duce rates of pre­ventable vi­sion loss in re­gional ar­eas.

Dr Amaratunge said de­mand for their ser­vices was high in the Pil­bara. “There’s def­i­nitely a lot of pa­tients up here,” she said.

“And the re­peat cus­tomers are peo­ple who def­i­nitely need to be seen, which means that they would def­i­nitely have to come down to Perth oth­er­wise.”

The van’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions were set by Tel­stra on the high-speed 4GX net­work, al­low­ing doc­tors to quickly down­load pa­tient data and con­duct video con­fer­ences in re­gional ar­eas.

Tel­stra area gen­eral man­ager Boyd Brown said they were proud to see the net­work tech­nol­ogy sup­port an im­por­tant health ser­vice.

“Health-care de­liv­ery is evolv­ing rapidly and new tech­nol­ogy is help­ing us de­liver ser­vices in new and more cost-ef­fec­tive ways,” he said.

“This van is one way we have to bet­ter help those in our re­gions and we are proud to be able to as­sist this pro­gram by pro­vid­ing net­work cov­er­age in the towns it will visit.” The van will re­turn to Kar­ratha and sur­round­ing Pil­bara towns in Au­gust. Visit out­backvi­back-vi­sion-van/.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Perera

Nurse Sharon Brown and oph­thal­mol­o­gists Irene Tan and Chathri Amaratunge with Tel­stra WA North busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Alan Shep­herd­son.

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