Recently the NHS has come under fire for rationing certain procedures including cataract operations, knee operations and hip replacements. Eye surgeons have recently spoke out against this saying that thousands of patients are being put at risk at more than half of the NHS trusts as a result of this.
Due to the cutbacks, those waiting for treatment have to suffer unnecessarily, being left unable to read, write or drive for long periods of time as a result of the ever increasing waiting periods. Eye specialists have attacked this move, labelling it as unfairly restricting operations for those requiring surgery and stating that is putting their lives at risk.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the Collegeof Optometrists and the Optical Confederation have released a joint statement urging the primary care trusts to ditch their rationing that is resulting in patients having to wait for even longer periods of time.
According to the group, some patients with cataracts in both eyes are only being treated for one, which leaves people unable to judge distances properly and become increasingly more likely to cause accidents. Professor Harminder Dua, president of the Royall College of Ophthalmologists, stated that he is deeply concerned about the rationing of cataracts surgeries through increasing the vision threshold required to qualify for surgery.
He believes that if a cataract is negatively affecting a person’s life, they should be able to qualify for the relevant treatment. It should also be noted however that the patient should know the risks involved in such a surgery and should be qualified from a health standpoint to be suitable for the operation.
Elizabeth Wade of the Primary Care Trust Network has come back to this response detailing the massive financial strain the NHS is currently under because of the reforms. As a result, commissioners and the primary care trusts must work within their means whilst offering the highest quality of care for their patients within those budgets. The Department of Health does not provide guidelines for the maximum amount of time a patient should have to wait before being able to receive an operation.
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