Over 6,000 Now Waiting for Cataract Surgery

Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the Health Service Executive released to his Sinn Fein colleague Louise O Reilly TD that show figures of over 6,000 people waiting for cataract surgery across the State as unacceptable.  There is currently an average waiting time of 28 months for public cataract surgery in Ireland and it’s up to 5 years in areas like West Cork

Crowe claims that Sligo and Leitrim have bucked the trend with a waiting time of less than a year and where patients are co-managed by Optometrists in the community and Ophthalmologists in the Hospital. The scheme simplifies the patient pathway and speeds up access and the Deputy wants a similar scheme to be adopted right across the State.

Deputy Seán Crowe said: 

“Figures released to my colleague Louise O Reilly TD by the HSE have detailed the extent of the staggering waiting times and waiting lists for cataract surgery across the State. 

“Across the State there are now over 6,151 people on waiting lists for cataract surgery, and most worryingly of all is that 256 of these people have been waiting over a year for treatment. 

“There are also five children awaiting this life changing surgery in Temple Street Children’s Hospital, with one them waiting over a year. 

“Cataract procedures usually take around 10 minutes to perform, yet there are now over 6,000 patients waiting on an operation across the state, with hundreds of these waiting over a year for treatment. 

“Patients suffer when they have to wait for cataract surgery, they lose the use of sight, they lose their independence and confidence, they can have accidents from falls, and all this costs the patient’s and the health service financially much more. 

“The current system is not working – it needs to be overhauled. 

“Thankfully, there is a clear solution in the award-winning Sligo Cataract Scheme. The Association of Optometrists Ireland have outlined how the Sligo-Leitrim constituency has the shortest waiting time in the State thanks to a simple cost-neutral scheme that involves. patients being co-managed by Optometrists in the community and Ophthalmologists in Hospital. The scheme also simplifies the patient pathway and has been found to speed up access.

 “A model of this scheme needs to be replicated urgently and end the unacceptable waiting times for patients and those affected by this medical condition. I cannot understand why a model that clearly works is not rolled out across the State so that Optometrists and the Hospital Eye Departments can work together to reduce these long waiting lists.” ENDS