The Eye Hospital began in 1878 and remains the major ophthalmic hospital in NSW, located within Australia’s first hospital now known as Sydney and Sydney Eye Hospital. It has an admirable legacy of nursing and medical firsts to its credit, not the least of which is its Fellowship Program, initiated by its dedicated charity, Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation. Since the inception of the program in 1991 to 2022, the Foundation welcomed and funded more than 153 Fellows from 31 countries. Many of these countries are disadvantaged, providing little or no access to advanced specialist medical training.
The case for funding
The increasing number of patients relying on Sydney Eye Hospital requires an injection of experienced ophthalmology Fellows into the frontline to keep pace with the ever-growing demand.
Fellowships are keenly sought after by all clinical units of the hospital and the Foundation needs to continue to meet the demand by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars annually with the community’s support.
The Fellows have brought a spirit and depth of service, not only to serving Sydney Eye Hospital patients and the Australian community, but also in directly saving the sight of thousands of people when the Fellows returned to their own countries.
In 2020 the Foundation conducted a survey of the then Fellows to assess their value to the hospital across all sub-specialities including Glaucoma, Uveitis, Vitreoretinal, Medical Retina, Cornea, Strabismus, Oncology, Neuro-ophthalmology.
It revealed the Fellows’ importance to patient care by indicating their busy daily clinical and surgical workload, performing hundreds of complex eye surgery during their Fellowship. They are generally also on call 24/7 providing a critical service.
“Our hospital is so enriched by the presence of Fellows and they have become an integral part of the whole service, teaching and research. The Fellows provide significant support to enable excellence in clinical care at Sydney Eye Hospital. They support our junior medical staff without which we could not operate at the level we do.”- Professor John Grigg, Professor and Head, Specialty of Ophthalmology / Professor of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology