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Seeking Outreach Ophthalmologists

The St John Ambulance Queensland (SJAQ) Eye Van is seeking Ophthalmologists to help improve access to ophthalmic services in regional Queensland communities.

The St John Eye Van is a fully equipped mobile ophthalmic outpatient facility, capable of delivering diagnostic and treatment services to Queensland’s areas of greatest need. Central Queensland clinics play a pivotal role for both Gladstone Hospital and Emerald Hospital, offering much-needed services free of cost.

CheckUP, the jurisdictional fund holder, provides federal block funding for travel, accommodation and meals and other associated expenses. The Ophthalmologist is well supported by this funding package to lead an ophthalmic team that includes an optometrist, ophthalmic assistant and potentially a registrar/PHO.

Indigenous Program
The Indigenous program, post Covid, includes regular visits to Cherbourg, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, and Charleville in 2024 with the potential to grow further where needed. The photo-screening program for diabetes over the last 10 years has been the most successful in Australia. Screening in GP clinics plus referrals from local Optometrists ensure that those who most need to be seen, have access to the ophthalmologist at the doorstep of their culturally safe, Indigenous Health Centre. Diabetes and its complications; refractive change, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy, are the focus of Indigenous services due to the high prevalence.

The St John Eye Van is equipped to provide all that is needed to manage these except cataract surgery that is organized at a regional facility at no cost to the patient. All pre and post operative care can be provided back in the patients’ community on the van.

The Ophthalmologist and Optometrist bulk bill patients as without practice expenses on the van.

Rural Hospital Program
The current commitment of the St John Eye Van is four (4) days per month across two hospital locations – Emerald Hospital and Gladstone Hospital and an additional three (3) days every second month across Bundaberg, Rockhampton, and Cherbourg clinics. The Ophthalmologist receives a generous Queensland Health daily rate from the Hospital as a Visiting Medical Officer (VMO). This income is supplemented by a travel, meal, and accommodation package from CheckUP.

The Hospital supplies an Orthoptist and a Registered Nurse for the St John Eye Van clinic. Patients are referred to Outpatients by local GPs plus visiting and local Optometrists.

Cataract surgery is conducted in the adjacent rural hospital which has had its theater upgraded and equipped using federal “activity-based funding” generated by the Eye Van, “instances of care”. In Emerald it is scheduled bi-monthly.

At present 1 ophthalmologist that works in Emerald with work generated by the van, there is an additional space for another to work in theatre. The ophthalmologists are both employed by the Hospital for the same daily wage. Pre and post appointments are carried out on the St John Eye Van. At each clinic in Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Cherbourg, there is an optometrist and orthoptist working with the ophthalmologist.

Interested Ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists should contact:
Grace Mullins General Manager Health Services St John Queensland
Contact Information

1300 785 646
QLD, Australia
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Closing date: 14/06/2024

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