Australia's High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Mr Frank Ingruber, yesterday, met with the visiting Australian surgical team at the National Referral Hospital.

The Ear, Nose and Throat team are in Solomon Islands to provide surgical operations, speech pathology and audiology examinations. They were at the National Referral Hospital from 19 - 23 July and will be performing clinical consultations and surgeries at Gizo Hospital from 25-29 July.

The team, led by Mr Malcolm Baxter, have all volunteered their services. Mr Baxter thanked the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and AusAID for supporting their travel and accommodation whilst in Solomon Islands.

Australia has supported visits of surgical teams to Pacific Island countries since 1995, through the Pacific Islands Project. The project supports short-term visits (usually of one or two week's duration) of medical specialists to 11 Pacific countries.

Other medical teams include cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, psychiatry, urology, radiology and a diabetes training program.

In a meeting with the visiting team and senior staff of the National Referral Hospital, the High Commissioner said he was pleased by the excellent work being undertaken by the teams and how closely they worked with Solomon Islands doctors and medical staff to help develop local knowledge and skills.

This would help ensure that needed specialist services were available in Solomon Islands in future.

In 2009 the visiting ENT team undertook local 123 consultations and 36 operations. Further PIP visits to Solomon Islands this year will include a neurosurgery team (August), pediatric team (mid-November), and a radiology team (mid-November).

Source: Press Release, Australian High Commission