New cataract service pilot
Cataract patients are set to benefit from a new one-stop see and treat service model at the Downe Hospital.
The new model being piloted by the South Eastern Trust is part of a wider programme to address wait times for cataract patients across Northern Ireland.
Outlining the work being taken forward, Health Minister Robin Swann said: “While the pandemic has inevitably exacerbated our waiting lists we are beginning to see some services, such as cataract day procedures return to pre-Covid levels. Additionally, we are also introducing new ways of working, as demonstrated through the new model at the Downe Hospital which is operating seven days a week. So while patients may have to travel a bit further for their day surgery, or attend a weekend appointment. The clear trade off will be a significant reduction in the time spent waiting for that surgery.
“Earlier this month I announced a new Elective Care Framework for Northern Ireland, setting out a detailed roadmap for tackling our shocking hospital waiting lists. As part of this work, we’ll also see the introduction of megaclinics for cataract assessments by September. In addition, funding has recently been made available to see and treat in excess of 1,300 patients with cataracts through the independent sector.
“I fully appreciate that too many people are waiting for too long but collectively these initiatives will go some way in reducing the wait times for patients.”