Eye Bus puts patients on road to recovery

LONG waiting lists are being dodged as part of a new bus service which transports patients to south-west hospitals with more open appointment books.

The Eye Bus has been operating for the past few months with a number of elderly or less mobile patients able to be transported to hospitals with shorter waiting lists.

Warrnambool opthamologist Vincent Lee said his specialist eye clinic has been providing cataract surgery to Warrnambool patients at Portland District Health for the past 14 years.

He said many cataract patients were elderly and needed treatment as soon as possible.

“A delay in surgery means a quality of life restriction for many cataract patients, so this service has sought to address this issue,” Dr Lee said.

“I would say over the past 14 years, several hundred patients from Warrnambool and the surrounding towns have had their cataract surgery performed at Portland District Health.

“A number of patients in need of surgery are socially isolated, so they’ve been unable to travel to Portland independently. 

“That’s why the bus has been needed.”

Roughly 35 to 40 patients were transported by the bus last year, with 12 Warrnambool region patients being taken to Portland’s hospital as part of the service. Other patients were transported to and from Colac and Hamilton.

Dr Lee said the Eye Bus concept arose from the need to transport eye equipment to and from the locations where he performs eye surgery.

He said there had been a noticeable increase in the number of Warrnambool region residents who have had their cataract surgery in other regional centres and use of the bus had grown as a result.

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