The Andrews Labor Government will deliver Eastern Health a $500,000 funding boost to reopen a specialist eye surgery clinic at Yarra Ranges Health in Lilydale after it closed under the former Liberal Government.

The funding boost will buy the specialist equipment needed to restore the Eastern Health Ophthalmology Service, which closed its doors in 2013.

By re-establishing the service, patients in Lilydale and beyond will no longer need to travel far from home to access the eye care and surgery they need, and deserve, to enjoy clearer vision and a higher-quality of life.

Once reopened, 136 cataract surgery patients at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital will be transferred back to Lilydale, so they can have their treatment closer to home and their family.

Other patients from Melbourne’s east receiving ophthalmology services at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital will also be referred back to Yarra Ranges Health.

The Eastern Health Ophthalmology Service closed its doors in February 2013 following the retirement of specialist staff, forcing patients from Melbourne’s outer east to travel to the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital for ophthalmology services.

The clinic will reopen this month meaning local patients can once again easily access the highest-quality care and treatment for cataracts, glaucoma and other serious eye health conditions that can cause blindness.

It will also help the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital respond to increasing demand for surgery, meaning hospital waiting lists will be reduced and patients will be treated quicker.

The Labor Government is making sure more patients receive the care, treatment and surgeries they need sooner, and closer to home.

The Victorian Budget 2016/17 delivered an extra $2.45 billion for health which means hospitals can admit extra patients, reduce emergency department wait times and upgrade facilities.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane

“The former Liberal Government stood by while this important service went under, leaving hundreds local patients with no other option but to travel more than 40km into the city just to visit an ophthalmology specialist.”

“We believe patients in Lilydale and beyond deserve easy access to safe and high quality eye care and surgery in their local community, closer to home and their loved ones.”

“That’s why we’ve provided the funding needed to re-open the doors to the ophthalmology service at Yarra Ranges Health so people in Melbourne’s outer east can better access the vital surgery they need to prevent blindness.”