Roadmap to Close the Gap for vision: full report

22 February 2012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are currently six times more likely to go blind than the general population and 94 percent of the vision loss is unnecessary, preventable, or treatable.

"The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision" project has been conducted by the Indigenous Eye Health Unit at The University of Melbourne. The aim is to "Close the Gap for Vision" by eliminating the known differences in the standard of eye health in Indigenous Australians compared to mainstream Australians.

This detailed report, The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision - Full Report, describes the research project with an explanation of the findings and consultation process that led to the recommendations. A shorter document, The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, summarises the research findings and policy recommendations.

The overall aim of this review of health service provision was to develop a model of eye care for Indigenous Australians for presentation to the Australian Government. The project objectives included the identification of the specific limitations and restrictions of the current funding mechanisms that support visiting eye care services to remote areas; the identification of barriers to access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to existing eye care services in urban and rural areas and ways to overcome them; the identification of key components in enhancing the pathway of care for the provision of eye services through Aboriginal Health Services; and the identification of the economic implications of the proposed policy changes. The project goal was to develop feasible, costed and supported policy recommendations through extensive consultation with stakeholders and all interested parties.

The study employed a range of methods to gather information, including semi-structured interviews, community member focus groups, and stakeholder workshops and consultations. All states and territories of Australia were included in consultations during the project.

The project team gathered and devised ideas about how to minimise funding mechanism limitations, how to overcome barriers to access and utilisation, and how to enhance the pathway of care. Draft policy recommendations were discussed in stakeholder meetings and circulated extensively to all interested parties. The recommendations present a synthesis of contributions from Indigenous community members, the Aboriginal community-controlled sector, eye health professions and industry, the health sector, non-government organisations, research groups and Commonwealth and jurisdictional governments.

Authored by Professor Hugh R. Taylor AC, Mitchell D. Anjou,  Andrea I. Boudville, and Robyn J. McNeil.

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