Lothian cataract waiting times reduced

NHS Lothian has delivered on Government targets to cut waiting times for cataract surgery by 31st December 2007.

Cataract surgery is offered at two sites across Lothian - the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh, and St John's Hospital at Howden, West Lothian.

The times have been cut from the previous overall target of 52 weeks - 26 weeks from receipt of referral to an outpatient (pre-assessment) appointment, and a further 26 weeks from the decision to operate to the date of to surgery.

The cataract service is the first service in NHS Lothian to implement a total wait of 18 weeks, from receipt of referral from optometrist to undergoing surgery.

The reduced waiting times have been delivered as part of the Cataract Delivery Programme, which has examined ways to improve the service offered to patients.

Detailed patient feedback, obtained through focus groups and one-to-one interviews, was used to identify ways in which the patient experience could be improved.

The programme has successfully reduced waiting times, standardised referral procedures, and significantly reduced the backlog of cataract patients in the system.

Patients should contact their optician if they are concerned about their vision;

Moira Anderson*, a patient representative, said:

"I was impressed with the dedication, enthusiasm and effort of the team involved. Reducing the backlog, standardising the service and improving patient care will benefit all awaiting cataract treatment. Lothian should be proud of this 21st century service delivery success."

Dr Harry Bennett, Chair of the Cataract Delivery Programme Steering Group, said:

"I am delighted that we have successfully reduced the waiting time for cataract surgery in line with Scottish Government targets.
"Last year 3,396 patients were pre-assessed across our two sites in Lothian for cataract operations - 2,632 at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, and 764 at St John's Hospital in Livingston.
"Of those, around 80-90 per cent went on to have cataract surgery.
"Our patients are now guaranteed to wait no longer than 18 weeks from initial referral to receiving surgery."