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ENT surgery commences in Griffith

(24/8/15)

Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery has recommenced at Griffith Base Hospital to treat Aboriginal children with ear health conditions. The service was established after Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service identified a need to provide local access to ENT surgery as part of a state-wide ear health needs assessment conducted by the NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN). Studies indicate that close to 10 percent of Aboriginal children have ear or hearing problems compared to three percent of non-Aboriginal children.

RDN has worked collaboratively with Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), Griffith Base Hospital, Murrumbidgee Local Health District (LHD) and ENT specialists to establish ENT surgery for Aboriginal children in Griffith. The new service is funded through the Healthy Ears, Better Hearing, Better Listening program administered in New South Wales by RDN.

The surgery will be provided by Dr Nirmal Patel and Dr Nicholas Jufas with the first procedure scheduled for Monday 24 August. Dr Nirmal, who has been providing an ENT consult service at Griffith AMS since 2013, said the surgeries will reduce the number of patients having to travel to Sydney for treatment.

Until now, children and their families have had to make a long 1,140km round trip to Sydney for ENT surgeries. Providing this surgery in the community will remove barriers to access for children and families at Griffith AMS, including cost of travel and disruption to family life. The service will reduce the number of Indigenous people suffering avoidable hearing loss and give Indigenous children in Griffith a better start to life.

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