North-east pa­tients face long cataract care de­lays

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - 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. 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.

Oph­thal­mol­ogy fig­ures from ISD Scot­land show 34,261 pa­tients have been on the wait­ing list for over the past year -8,796 wait­ing 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, and have been work­ing through­out the year to in­tro­duce a new staffing model to al­low the ser­vice to be de­liv­ered by spe­cial­ist op­tometrists and spe­cial­ists nurses.”

One Grampian res­i­dent waited 546 days for treat­ment

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