Spotlight on our ENT specialist outreach services


Indigenous ear disease is still a major health problem in Australia and until the rate of ear disease in Australia’s First People’s matches that of the non-Indigenous population, more efforts need to be undertaken to manage this condition.    With NAIDOC Week around the corner, we recognise the remarkable work that members of our Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (Ear, Nose and Throat) department have been carrying out in conjunction with the Pius X Aboriginal Medical Service in Moree since 2003 to fulfil our mission values in providing care for Australia’s First Peoples.

ENT Specialist A/Prof Nigel Biggs reflects upon the importance of such outreach services within the indigenous healthcare space:

What is the ENT departments predominate focus at the Pius X AMS Clinic?

As an outreach clinic within the indigenous healthcare space, the main focus is on indigenous ear disease, which is a great problem and has an impact on hearing and education, particularly in children.  There has been a slow improvement in the rate indigenous ear disease with these efforts, but there is still more work to be done.

Talk us through the service members of the ENT team carry out…

Dr Richard Gallagher initially liaised with the Moree AMS on undertaking regular visits as an ENT department. Currently, myself and other members of the ENT department at St Vincent’s Clinic including Dr Sean Flanagan, Professor Richard Harvey, Dr Julia Crawford, Dr Georgina Harris and Dr Brett Leavers have been regularly providing pro bono ENT care to Indigenous patients at the Pius X AMS Clinic in the Moree region.  Working in Pius X AMS is another way we can fulfil the mission values of St Vincent’s in providing care for disadvantaged and Indigenous patients.

Why did you personally get involved in this service?

I have a number of relatives who grew up in the country and spent quite some time on properties when younger. I always enjoy dealing with patients from regional areas. Living in the country provides distinct challenges in accessing healthcare and I feel the medical community should endeavour to ensure that those living in regional areas should enjoy all the benefits of modern healthcare that those in the city enjoy.

We would actively encourage any members of St Vincent’s Clinic to be involved in outreach services within the indigenous healthcare space. This is a very fulfilling part of our work.

To find out more about this service go to: