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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Eye patients 'face shorter wait'
A project offering cataract patients a choice over their operations has cut waiting times, it is claimed.

Patients from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have been told they can have treatment at hospitals with shorter waiting lists.

Alternatively they can be treated by a German team at Ilkeston Hospital.

The Trent Strategic Health Authority said no patient has to wait more than three months for cataract surgery.

Waiting longer than necessary with impaired vision has such a negative impact on people's quality of life
Arthur Sandford, Trent Strategic Health Authority

The authority, which covers Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, said the pilot scheme known as Trent Access and Choice (Trac) enabled it to meet its target six months ahead of schedule.

A team of doctors and nurses from Levent Clinics in Germany was also invited specifically to carry out the eye surgery at the NHS Treatment Centre at Ilkeston Hospital.

Gloria Brearley, 65, from Derbyshire, said: "Under the new scheme I was given two 'new eyes' in just four days.

"It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of a quick appointment for people living with reduced eye-sight, the difference the operation makes cannot be over-estimated."

Trent Strategic Health Authority Chairman Arthur Sandford said: "Organisations across Trent have worked very hard to bring waiting times down for cataract surgery because waiting longer than necessary with impaired vision has such a negative impact on people's quality of life."

There are plans to extend patient choice to other ophthalmology procedures and a pilot scheme outlining the options available is being set up in a number of GP surgeries.

The information will include details of waiting times at different hospitals as well as the time it will take them to travel there.




SEE ALSO:
Pensioner in pain despairs of NHS
23 Jun 04  |  England
Patients get 'private' eye ops
07 Jun 04  |  Cumbria



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