Eye pa­tients face long de­lays for cataract treat­ment

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY JAMES WYLLIE

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”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.