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HomeminewsCFEH Focuses on Early Detection and Service to Vulnerable

CFEH Focuses on Early Detection and Service to Vulnerable

Early detection of vision impairment and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable people in the community are central to all future work at Centre for Eye Health (CFEH), under the guidance of its new manager, Sarah Holland.

A subsidiary of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT (GDN), CFEH was established in 2009 and has worked in partnership with University of New South Wales (UNSW) to provide high quality, evidence-based clinical service, aimed at reducing preventable blindness and vision loss through the early detection of eye disease. A recent decision to prioritise its financial investment in early detection of vision impairment better aligns with GDN’s current strategy and future goals, according to Ms Holland.

“A project team consisting of members from GDN, CFEH and UNSW spent the past six months working through the desired future model to ensure it maximises impact in the early detection space, while continuing to support existing projects and staff,” Ms Holland explained to mivision.

“Throughout these changes, CFEH has collaborated with industry experts to ensure CFEH is using its resources and expertise to have the biggest impact possible within the early detection space, ultimately ensuring that the needs of patients remain first and foremost.”

No services or projects have been discontinued, with Ms Holland confirming clinical services have continued in a “business-as- usual manner”. Additionally, CFEH is currently undertaking a pilot project with a view of better focussing services on the most vulnerable within our community.

“This is to ensure CFEH has the maximum impact within the early detection space. This pilot is being run collaboratively with referrers and will only be rolled out once protocols have been refined. We look forward to sharing further details in due course,” she said.

The news is positive in the research space as well with all existing research projects continuing and several new research projects approved in the past month.

“A new research governance committee, with a membership consisting of senior leaders across UNSW and GDN, has been established to help develop and support new projects moving forward,” Ms Holland said.

PARTNERSHIPS CONTINUE WITH RECRUITMENT

Despite all the change, Ms Holland said staff at CFEH are motivated and enthusiastic about working more closely with GDN to maximise impact within the early detection space.

“Our staff have been kept well informed throughout this process and recognise the reasoning for the changes, as well as the opportunities this presents… changes have resulted in efficiencies at the senior leadership level, however the impact to staff has been minimal.

“Moving forward, CFEH clinical services will be fully managed by GDN, with UNSW overseeing research and education functions. However, to ensure the CFEH model is not negatively impacted, both entities will continue to work together in partnership.

“We are in the process of recruiting a research coordinator role, which will be a joint position across CFEH / UNSW and will focus on developing and supporting ongoing research work.

“Two new PhD students have recently started, who will be focussing their studies on acute age-related macular degeneration, and finally, we have recruited two new client services team members who will be located at the Kensington site to support the clinical services division.”

Ms Holland, who was CFEH’s Executive Manager for two years prior to being appointed General Manager, said she has always been inspired by the work undertaken at CFEH and the passion of the staff who are delivering care.

“The main focus of CFEH has, and will continue to be, the provision of a high quality, evidence based clinical service aimed at the prevention of vision loss through the early detection of eye disease.

“Ensuring CFEH is at the cutting edge of the diagnosis and management of eye disease and patient care is inherent to this and as such, CFEH will continue to ensure that the right people, systems and opportunities are in place to continue on this path.

“While the model is changing with regards to how research and education is undertaken through the Centre, both will continue to be integral to CFEH’s model of care through collaboration with UNSW and industry organisations.”

Ms Holland said the ongoing partnership with UNSW will allow for continued facilitation of both undergraduate education and clinical research, both of which are integral to the CFEH model.

“Equally, there is already a significant amount of work undertaken within the sector across a number of stakeholders including Glaucoma Australia and the Macular Disease Foundation; it is my hope that we will continue to work in a collaborative manner, ensuring maximum impact. Ultimately, the aim for us at CFEH is to provide early detection services for those most vulnerable (clinically and financially), and to reduce the incidence of preventable blindness,” she concluded.