How to cut the cataract waiting lists

 

Sir, – Ireland’s waiting times of up to four years for cataract treatment, as highlighted again in national media this week, can be significantly reduced quickly and without cost.

The answer is to roll out the award-winning “Sligo Post-Cataract Scheme” nationwide, which has proven highly successful in the North West.

The Sligo scheme involves ophthalmologists and optometrists working more closely together and reducing the cataract care pathway by one appointment.

With a huge 20,000 cataract procedures a year in Ireland, rolling out the protocol nationally would reduce out-patient eye appointments by up to 20,000.

Instead of two separate follow-up appointments, one in the hospital and one with the community optometrist, patients are given the option of a single appointment with their local optometrist at which their needs are met. This is facilitated through optometrists having access to the hospital IT system.

This scheme is award-winning, referenced in the Programme for Government and successful in delivery in one region for many years. The Association of Optometrists Ireland has repeatedly publicly highlighted the clear benefits of rolling it out nationwide.

In this case, political will and common sense can go a long way to reduce waiting times and patients’ distress. – Yours, etc,

SEÁN McCRAVE,

CEO,

Association of Optometrists

Ireland,

Harolds Cross Road,

Dublin 6.