Warwick business shuts after battle to find skilled workers
THE struggle to draw skilled workers to regional areas has claimed a victim as optometrist Tom Roger plans to close Eye Care Eye Wear in Rose City Shoppingworld.
Mr Roger hoped finding someone to fill his role would ease the strain of balancing his two other optometry branches with finding time for his young family.
While the practice has been busy since opening in 2014, the three-way dance between his branches in Chinchilla, Dalby and Warwick was never a part of the plan for Mr Roger.
"The original idea was to find an optometrist who could help take over while I was away,” he said.
Unfortunately, despite working with a few potential applicants, Mr Roger had no luck finding one suitable.
He said he was looking for a special kind of optometrist.
"I needed someone who was prepared to commit to the community and develop those patient relationships,” he said.
"These relationships are important for solving complex long-term eye issues.”
While the applicants he trialled did not pan out for a number of reasons, Mr Roger said many optometrists are only looking for short-term work in the rural sector.
"It is hard to find skilled professionals in the country, I think the optometry industry needs to do more promotion for getting people into these areas.”
Mr Roger said the best time he had in Warwick was being able to help kids with vision-related learning impairments to improve their eyesight.
"The behavioural vision care we provide had not been catered for in Warwick before us, so we were able to help these kids with visual therapies they had not received.”
With three children at home, Mr Roger hopes his decision will allow him to spend more time with those who matter most.
"It has definitely impacted the amount of time I spend with my kids,” he said.
"I apologise to those in Warwick for not being able to provide eye care in the future and thank them for the support and opportunities they provided.”