Eye patients face long delays across Grampian
MP condemns cataract waiting times as ‘outrageous’
Thousands of eye patients are facing long delays to get cataract operations across Scotland, it emerged yesterday. The government has set targets for maximum waiting times and patients should be booked in for treatment within 12 weeks. But almost a quarter on the list have had to wait longer.
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 a staggering 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. I am now seek- ing an urgent meeting to resolve this issue. Many cataract patients are elderly.
“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.
“The figures are ex-
“Once again it seems that the central belt is better served than north-east”
traordinary,” he added. “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.
“We are seeing time and time again that the relentless centralisation of the SNP Government in Holyrood is costing Moray and the north-east of Scotland dear.”
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 are aware that people are having to wait longer than we would like to be seen here and we apologise for the uncertainty this is causing for some patients.
“We have experienced challenges in finding consultant staff to fill vacancies in ophthalmology at Dr Gray’s Hospital for a number of years.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “NHS Grampian’s budget has increased by £315million to almost £900million in 2017-18. Our budget for 2017-18 has ensured that NHS Grampian, along with all territorial boards, is within 1% of its target share of funding.
“Population level is only one of the factors taken into account when allocating funding to NHS boards; other key factors include relative deprivation and need for healthcare. Since 2015-16 NHS Grampian has received additional funding of £47million for the specific purpose of accelerating NRAC parity.
“The health secretary announced a collaborative group to transform scheduled care and put the services on a sustainable footing and we look forward to NHS Grampian engaging in this.”
SURGERY: North-east patients can wait up to 18 months for a cataract op which is ‘shocking ’ said Douglas Ross