You are here: Home > News > Latest updates & news > Members & member initiatives > Optometry and ophthalmology collaborate to enhance patient access to eye care
Read time:


Image: Student Minh Lam gets checked at Flinders University by Jacqueline Warren and Dr Stewart Lake. Source: The Advertiser


A South Australian hospital has introduced a new, innovative model of care that will see optometrists working in collaboration with ophthalmologists to reduce patient waiting times and improve access to primary eye care.

To tackle the high demand for ophthalmology services, Flinders Medical Centre is identifying patients with diabetes whom fall under the scope of optometry, and who do not require hospital-based treatment, to Flinders Health2Go, a clinic run by Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Health2Go is staffed by qualified optometrists, and has the capacity initially to review 24 patients a week for stable chronic eye conditions, with the aim to double this number by the end of the first year. This will free up more than 700 extra appointments in the hospital’s ophthalmology department, benefitting new patients who find it difficult to access timely ophthalmic care.

The project, titled ‘Collaborative Eyecare Project for Ophthalmology at SALHN’, was developed by Flinders University and the SA Health Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN), which provides healthcare services to the southern suburbs of Adelaide.

Senior Lecturer in Optometry at Flinders University, Jacqueline Warren, led the development of the new collaborative model of care after she was involved in a similar pilot program at Modbury Hospital in 2019, supported by Optometry Victoria South Australia and SA Health.

‘The Modbury pilot was largely successful in showing that optometric services could assist to reduce patient waiting lists, but the model of care needed further refinement to ensure long-term sustainability,’ Jacqueline said.

‘The Collaborative Eyecare Project for Ophthalmology at SALHN has been developed with these learnings in mind to allow optometry to provide assistance to the ophthalmology department not only now, but for years to come.

‘I am proud to have collaborated with SALHN on this innovative program and look forward to working with the ophthalmology team to improve timely access to eyecare in southern Adelaide.’

SALHN Acting Head of Ophthalmology unit, Dr Stewart Lake, said: ‘This collaborative eye care project will ensure that each person gets appropriate care sooner. The new service embeds specialist optometry services into the SALHN Ophthalmology practice for the management of stable chronic eye conditions, freeing up specialist clinicians for appointments with people who have more complex eye disease.’

The Health2Go clinic will involve supervised optometry students in the management of patients. In the event that a patient’s condition later progresses beyond the clinical capacity of the clinic, they can be referred back for reassessment, providing a direct pathway back to Flinders Medical Centre.

Filed in category: Members & member initiatives, Patient care & management, Scope of practice, Workplace
Tagged as: , ,

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.