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Eye surgery rationing

14th September 2012

Campaigners say cataract surgery on the NHS is being rationed.

Eye2

And they fear that thousands of elderly people are having to put up with deteriorating sight because of this “cruel and random” approach by the NHS.

Researchers from Imperial College London found that some primary care trusts are only prepared to offer cataract surgery – which costs £930 - to patients whose sight is so poor that they have had a fall as a result.

Their study, published in the Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, shows that 71 out of 151 PCTs ration operations and many are applying strict criteria before the procedures are being offered.

Around a third of over-65s suffer from cataracts, cloudy patches that form over the lens of the eye, causing blurred vision.

Steve Winyard of the Royal National Institute of Blind People said: ‘It’s indefensible and is leaving a lot of older people struggling to lead independent lives.

“People should not have to live with a reduced quality of life because PCTs are using arbitrary criteria to determine whether they get to keep their sight.”

Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne accused the government of losing its grip on NHS finances.

“As a result we are seeing cruel and random rationing in the NHS,” he said.

ICL lead researcher Sophie Coronini-Cronberg acknowledged that some restrictions were necessary as not all patients would benefit from cataract surgery and some would not want it but she added that some patients whose sight could be improved were being refused the procedure.

 

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Comments

Anonymous

Sunday 16th September 2012 @ 18:52

Really disturbing news. In an advanced and developed country where cataract surgery costs only GBP 930, the elderly who are in dire need of surgical correction for their sight problems are being subjected to rationing! I thought rationing belongs to poor/under-developed nations.


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