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NHS Cataract Rationing

9th December 2013

The NHS is under continuous pressure to save money and there’s evidence that cataract surgery may be affected by this.

Dr Foster (the online health database) has provided data which highlights the gradual decrease in cataract surgeries from 2009. In 2008 there were a total of 326,456 cataract surgeries and in 2012 that figure has dropped to 321,957, Dr Foster has suggested that the threshold which people qualify for treatment may have changed. It is now likely that those that have qualified for treatment in the past may not be eligible if they wished to receive treatment now. Many people would have to wait until their condition deteriorated.

The quality of service that is received from the NHS is primarily affected by how local commissioners are coping with the financial pressures, and their ability to manage their budgets efficiently. Steve Winyard, who is head of campaigns at the ‘Royal National Institute of Blind People’ (RNIB), has stated how the postcode lottery and restriction of cataract surgery by threshold boundaries is unacceptable. He has also said that reducing cataract operations to save money is false economy and leaves patients at risk of depression and social isolation. Everyone should be entitled to treatment at an early stage so that sight loss can be delayed or prevented.

The BBC health news page provides a postcode finder to find out about hips, knees and cataracts in your area. Please visit this link for more information.

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