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Eyes In Region

 Eyes in Region Podcast

Dr Sonia Moorthy has produced the podcast series ‘Eyes in Region’ with support from Bausch+Lomb.

Launched on 13 November 2023, each episode will focus on a rurally-based ophthalmologist and the challenges they face and the strategies they use to provide services for regional and remote communities in Australia and New Zealand. They’ll also delve into what it’s like living in ‘out in the country’.

This podcast aligns with RANZCO’s Vision 2030 and beyond initiative for equitable eye care access in a sustainable ophthalmology workforce.


Eyes In Region – About the Podcasts

Episode 7: Dr Phoebe Moore

Dr Phoebe Moore is a general ophthalmologist with subspecialty expertise in retinal diseases, uveitis (inflammatory diseases of the eye) and cataract.

Dr Moore graduated first in her undergraduate medical degree at the University of Newcastle in 2011. In addition to graduating with distinction, she was awarded the RANZCOG Women’s Health Award for the highest overall ability and capacity in obstetrics and gynaecology and the Andrew Lojszczyk Prize in Surgery, for the highest overall performance in surgery. She graduated with the AMA prize for the student with the highest overall ability and capacity.

She completed her internship through the Hunter New England Health Network while also completing her Master of Medicine in ophthalmic science. She graduated first in her master’s degree, being awarded both the Anthony Molteno award for optics as well as the Clarence and Mabel Clark Award for the most proficient graduate.

Dr Moore commenced ophthalmology training in Melbourne through the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in 2015. She graduated first across Australia and New Zealand, being awarded the KG Howsam medal for excellence in 2018.

Dr Moore then went on to undertake further training at Bristol Eye Hospital in 2020, subspecialising in retinal diseases and uveitis, in particular management of immunosuppression for patients with inflammatory diseases of the eye.

Dr Moore returned to her home-town of Tamworth in 2021 where she lives with her husband and 2 sons.

Listen to episode 7.

Episode 6: Dr Andrew McAllister

Dr Andrew McAllister is an eye surgeon who has additional sub-speciality training in the surgical and medical treatment of disorders affecting the retina, vitreous, and in cataract surgery.

Andrew was born in Toowoomba and grew up in the South Burnett. He worked as a veterinarian in the Kimberley for 2 years before completing his medical degree at the University of Queensland. He went on to train as a general ophthalmologist, before undertaking subspecialty fellowships in vitreoretinal surgery and medical retina at Hamilton NZ, Townsville, and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne.

Dr. McAllister’s additional training was in the surgical and medical management of retinal detachments, macular holes, epiretinal membranes, age related macular degeneration, retinal vascular disorders, diabetic retinopathy, tumours of the eye, uveitis, ocular trauma, and complex cataract surgery.

He has a Master of Medicine, has published in international journals, authored textbook chapters, has a graduate diploma in cataract and refractive surgery, and teaches University of Queensland medical students

Andrew is committed to providing specialist eye services to regional and rural patients.

Listen to episode 6.

Episode 5: Dr Neil Sinclair

Neil is a comprehensive General ophthalmologist at Bunbury and Busselton Eye Specialists. He trained in the UK (Royal Free University Hospital, London) and undertook Sub Specialist Registrar training in the Wessex Deanery in the South of England.

Neil then completed his Fellowship training in Strabismus and Paediatric Ophthalmology from both Southampton General Hospital (UK) and the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne).Neil also has Fellowship training in Oculoplastic, Ocular Facial, and Lacrimal Surgery from University Hospital of Wales (Cardiff).

Neil moved to Bunbury with his family in 2009 and has worked in the South West since then. Neil operates on insured patients at SJOG (Bunbury) and Bunbury Day Hospital. For public patients, he operates at Bunbury Hospital and Busselton Health Campus.

When Neil is not busy with his family, he enjoys kite surfing, mountain biking, swimming, and the occasional round of golf. Neil is also an active Rotarian in the Rotary Club of South Bunbury.

Listen to episode 5.

Episode 4: Dr Andrew Thompson

Dr Andrew Thompson is a consultant ophthalmologist working at Tauranga Eye Specialists, New Zealand. Andrew initially trained as a pharmacist and worked in New Zealand and the UK before commencing medical studies. He completed ophthalmology specialist training in New Zealand then subspecialist training in glaucoma and both medical and surgical retina both in NZ and the UK.

Listen to episode 4.

Episode 3: Dr Eline Whist

Dr Whist is an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon with 14 years of experience in ophthalmology. She moved to the territory in 2014. She is a fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (FRANZCO) and has subspecialty experience in ocular inflammatory disease/ uveitis and medical retina. She performs cataract and other ophthalmic surgeries.

Dr Whist is originally from Norway but moved to Australia to study medicine at the University of Newcastle (1999-2004). She also holds a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She has a varied medical background, including volunteer work in Africa with Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Dr Whist completed her ophthalmology specialist training through the Sydney Eye Hospital training network (2010-2014). She did a fellowship with the Fred Hollows Foundation in Fiji and Alice Springs, followed by the Professorial Fellowship under Prof Peter McCluskey at Sydney Eye Hospital (2016-2017), where she gained experience in complex uveitis and took part in many important clinical trials on diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

In addition to being a part of Darwin Eye Surgeons, Dr Whist is also a staff specialist in ophthalmology at the Royal Darwin Hospital, participating in outreach services to Katherine, Gove and remote communities. She is passionate about providing holistic eye health services to remote/low-resource settings and is actively involved in teaching junior doctors and medical students. She publishes in peer-reviewed journals on an ongoing basis. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney and sits on RANZCO’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working group.

Listen to episode 3.

Episode 2: Dr Brent Skippen

Dr Brent Skippen graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery with Honours. He spent the next few years working at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney before nine months working in Armenia with Medecins Sans Frontieres.

He completed general ophthalmology training at Sydney Eye Hospital. This was followed by a rigorous Clinical Oculoplastic and Orbital Fellowship at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Dr Skippen gained further cosmetic and reconstructive eyelid, facial and orbital subspecialty expertise inItaly, where he undertook Clinical Fellowship training in Genoa and Milan with Dr Francesco Bernardini.

Listen to episode 2.

Episode 1: A/Prof Angus Turner

Associate Professor Angus Turner is the McCusker Director of Lions Outback Vision. This service delivery and research unit focuses on areas of unmet need servicing regional locations and Indigenous communities.

He has established the specialist mobile clinic – Lions Outback Vision Van – which serves 20 remote communities with state-of-the-art facilities. More recently, he has relocated with a team to be based in the northwest where research and advocacy has been translated into a regional hub known as the Kimberley Hub which services the northwest of the state.

Associate Professor Turner has been an internationally recognised pioneer of teleophthalmology and established a service that spans regional Western Australia.

Listen to episode 1.

Regional And Remote

Outside of metropolitan areas in Australia and New Zealand, due to the smaller populations, larger distances between towns and fewer technical resources, rural and regional health services face a number of different challenges from those located in the city.  Limited resources mean that ophthalmology services may not be available all the time.

In a rural area, community members may often have to wait until an ophthalmologist visits the area or they may need to travel to a regional or metropolitan hospital for more complex diagnosis and treatment.

In some cases where long distances are a problem, telehealth (which uses technology to communicate between a community member and the ophthalmologist) may be an option.

RANZCO seeks to develop a regional training program in Australia to address maldistribution of the ophthalmology workforce.  In New Zealand the College advocates for greater incentivisation of the ophthalmology workforce to drive sustainable and improved eye health services in the lesser served District Health Boards.

Last updated: May 21, 2024

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