In early 2018 RWAV engaged a new audiology provider, Tim Rayner, to service the majority of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) located in the Western Victoria region. Tim and his colleagues outlined that access to healthcare services is often limited in the region and the RWAV Healthy Ears, Better Hearing, Better Listening (HEBHBL) program has enabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people to access audiology in their own communities. Other challenges of working in this setting include the distance and cost that patients need to bear to access services. From July 2018, Tim, who is based in Warrnambool has been contracted to service the following audiology clinics and locations:
Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation – Heywood and Hamilton
Kirrae Health Services – Moyne East
Dhauward-Wurrung Elderly & Community Health Service – Portland
Budja Aboriginal Co-operative – Halls Gap
Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative – Horsham
Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative – Warrnambool
Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative – Ballarat
Tim works within a team of five specialised Paediatric audiologists who rotate visits to each location on a quarterly or biannual basis, depending on the community need. The group of audiologists have quickly adapted to the outreach process and they have also completed cultural training to ensure the service provided is appropriate for their patients.
For the last 25 years, Tim has been a great advocate for hearing services in the region, delivering diagnostic services and hearing rehabilitation across Western Victoria as well as raising important issues in the appropriate and standardised delivery of audiology services to children.
For the Audiology Team, the most important part of the RWAV HEBHBL program is working with the children, not only testing hearing but coming up with solutions to help appropriate treatment and access to care. The HEBHBL Program enables access to such audiology hearing tests in their local communities, which reduces travel time and cost for families.
Regarding these audiology services, ACCHOs have been very positive with some feedback including:
“The services that Tim Rayner and his team have provided to Winda-Mara have been beneficial in assessing at risk children hearing and ear health, and has increased the community confidence in accessing audiologist services.
Tim’s team provides culturally sensitive and safe services for our community and the kids enjoy engaging in the services provided.”
– Anne-Marie Banfield – Regional Eye and Ear Coordinator, Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation
In relation to working with RWAV and local health professionals, Tim and his colleagues have said:
“Our experience working with RWAV has been excellent. It is a very supportive group of people who are really committed to providing healthcare solutions from indigenous populations in Western Victoria. The team at RWAV have been very interested in making sure that these services are provided in the best possible way to have maximum impact. Working with local healthcare providers and clinic managers has also been important to make sure that our services fit in well with their needs and also their requirements.”
– Tim Rayner, Audiologist
For further information regarding the Healthy Ears, Better Hearing, Better Listening Program provided across the state please visit the Outreach Services Directory or contact the RWAV Outreach Team at Vicoutreach@rwav.com.au or by phone at 03 9349 7846.