The winners of the 2022 Doug and Mary Perkins Medal have been celebrated at the Specsavers Clinical Conference (SCC) held 10-11 September. Specsavers Dubbo and Dapto in Australia, and Specsavers Hornby and Dunedin in New Zealand, received the annual awards for clinical care and excellence.
Nick Gidas, Specsavers Head of Clinical Performance, presented the prestigious Doug Perkins Medal to Yvonne O’Sullivan, Brian Thio and Claire Curtin from Specsavers Dubbo, and Lachlan Martin and Hallie McCloy from Specsavers Hornby.
We were looking for practices that are leaders in delivering exceptional patient outcomes
Mr Gidas said the top ten finalists represented the top 3% of practices in each country that had consistently demonstrated clinical excellence across all areas of practice.
“The award is based on nationwide analysis using data collected through Specsavers clinical reporting. This information was combined with data from Specsavers’ patient feedback platform, as well as health outcome data from the Oculo electronic referral system,” said Mr Gidas.
“We were looking for practices that are leaders in delivering exceptional patient outcomes; that demonstrate a consistently outstanding patient experience; that implement and improve store processes that deliver consistent quality eye care; who are committed to accessible eye health and who lead a positive workplace and culture. We were thrilled to be able to crown Specsavers Dubbo and Specsavers Hornby with the award this year.”
Recognising Life Saving Acts
The Dame Mary Perkins Award, introduced in 2021, recognises an individual or group who have delivered an exceptional act of patient care. This year’s recipients were Surendran Naidoo from Specsavers Dapto, and Jennifer Robinson from Specsavers Dunedin, who stood out for going above and beyond in customer service, clinical care, clinical leadership and teamwork.
Mr Naidoo’s nomination involved a patient who had a pituitary tumour detected in an eye test, leading to an urgent diagnosis and surgery that saved the patient’s life. Mr Naidoo insisted Kelly Pabis complete two visual fields tests and then after the referral was made, he stayed in close contact with her, even when the store was closed for three weeks to refit.
“One morning I woke up and felt like I had a veil over my eyes. I couldn’t see the cars coming towards me, so I came and saw Surendran,” said Ms Pabis.
When Mr Naidoo couldn’t find a plausible explanation for her symptoms, he did a vision field test and found that she had a bitemporal hemianopia which is a classic sign of a pituitary tumour. He referred her urgently, via her GP, to get an MRI. Ms Pabis was rushed into surgery that night.
“When she saw the neurologist three months later, the neurologist said that she was surprised that she was still alive when she went in for the operation,” said Mr Naidoo.
“I have Surendran to thank for that because he knew the symptoms that I came in and spoke to him about,” said Ms Pabis.
Ms Robinson was nominated for her follow-up care for a young patient who required chemotherapy treatment for a brain tumour.
“She came in for a routine eye check. Everything seemed to be okay, Sarah’s vision was good,” said Ms Robinson.
However, she noticed Sarah’s eyes shake when she looked to the extreme left or right, prompting a six-month follow-up appointment. At her next visit, Ms Robinson referred Sarah to a specialist at the hospital where she was then referred for an MRI scan which revealed that a brain tumour pushing on the optic nerve was causing the nystagmus.
As well as this, the award also recognised the care Ms Robinson provided for a farmer with a retinal detachment requiring same-day surgery.
The Dame Mary Perkins Medals were judged by leading industry professionals Justine Cain, CEO of Diabetes Australia, Pippa Martin, Managing Director of Glaucoma New Zealand, and Ian Wishart, CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation.
Presenting the award, Mr Wishart said, he was incredibly impressed by the calibre of the nominees.
“They embodied kindness, compassion and integrity in their everyday lives. In the words of Fred himself, they truly demonstrate that ‘every eye is an eye,’ and ensure all people receive the care they deserve. Thank you for the opportunity to recognise their actions,” he said.