In 2021 our Foundation recognised it had a role to play in enabling regional and remote Indigenous patient’s equal access to the expert care they need at Sydney Eye Hospital.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are three times as likely as non-Indigenous people to be blind or have low vision and, as well as our ophthalmology services, they are also waiting longer for surgery.
We decided it was time to close this gap and find the money to address this inequality.
We consulted the Aboriginal Liaison Unit of Prince of Wales and Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital on how to help Indigenous patients and continuing to build ongoing relationships.
Since then we have given sponsorship of $12,500 to the Critical Care Fund for the removal of barriers to accessing healthcare.
Foundation funds provide for family and essential support for the duration of their hospital stay, enabling Indigenous patients to access expert care of Sydney Eye Hospital.
We also aim to reduce early discharge for reasons of financial hardship so patients may complete treatment.
In October 2021 we engaged Dr Rob Starling to undertake a gap analysis, initially with health professionals in ophthalmology service delivery to contribute in developing a Foundation Action Plan.
The analysis, led by Professor Gerard Sutton, Board Director and ophthalmologist is in consultation with stakeholders including Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW Rural Doctors Network and Optometry NSW.
In collaboration with the Indigenous Liaison team we have also sponsored Close the Gap and Reconciliation Week cultural awareness activities at Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital to raise knowledge and understanding of First Nations People, their culture, history and issues faced today.
On 6 May 2022 we are holding a fundraising lunch to help remove barriers to care to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait patients. Our aim is to raise $50,000 to expand ophthalmology service delivery to remote and regional patients through outreach services, enable telemedicine capabilities and continue to fund critical care.