North-east patients face long cataract care delays
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