Eye patients face long delays for cataract treatment
Thousands of eye patients are facing long delays to get cataract operations across Scotland, it emerged yesterday.
The Scottish Government has set targets for maximum waiting times and patients should be booked in for treatment within 12 weeks.
But almost a quarter of patients on the list have had to wait longer over the past year. One Grampian resident waited 546 days.
Only eye patients living in the Lothian, Shetland and Borders areas received treatment on time.
Yesterday, Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross said: “It is shocking that patients in Moray and the north-east who need eye surgery have to wait up to a year-and-a-half to have essential cataract treatment.
“Once again it seems that the central belt is better served, with the waiting list for ophthalmology appointments in NHS Lothian just 81 days, and patients in Glasgow are seen within 210 days. Many cataract patients are elderly and their sight is extremely important. The outrageous time they are stuck on the NHS Grampian waiting list could limit their ability to get out and about, which is clearly unacceptable.”
Mr Ross blamed the problem on a lack of funding from the Scottish Government. “In Moray, we have a greater number of older people in a rural area who need more funding, not less. This is having a direct effect on local people who are finding that Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin is not always able to meet their needs due to lack of investment, and they face lengthy journeys to Aberdeen for treatment or consultations.”
Ophthalmology figures from ISD Scotland revealed that 34,261 patients have been on the waiting list for over the past year. Of these, 8,796 patients waited more than 12 weeks for an appointment.
Alasdair Pattinson, general manager at Dr Gray’s Hospital, said: “We have experienced challenges in finding consultant staff to fill vacancies in ophthalmology at Dr Gray’s Hospital for a number of years. We are determined, however, to maintain services at Dr Gray’s, which is why we have been working throughout the year to introduce a new staffing model that will allow the service to be delivered by specialist optometrists and specialists nurses supported by a visiting and virtual service from ophthalmology consultants in Aberdeen.”
“Onceagain itseemsthe centralbeltis betterserved”