Delay in eye care condemned by MSP

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More than 200 Highland patients waited at least three months to get treatment for eye conditions over 2015/2016, a MSP has revealed.

The figures came to light after Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart took up the case of an Inverness 80-year-old who waited 11 months for a cataract operation.

In answer to a parliamentary question lodged by Mr Stewart, Scottish Government Health Secretary Shona Robison said 2,070 patients received ophthalmology treatment with 1,839 waiting less than 12 weeks and 231 waiting more than 12 weeks.

In reply to a previous parliamentary question posed by Mr Stewart, Shona Robison said that under the Patients’ Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 all patients should receive their inpatient or day case treatment, including a cataract operation, within 12 weeks of a patient agreeing treatment with their consultant.

‘Ms Robison’s own standard has been broken in the region,’ said Mr Stewart. `Any patient with an eye condition should not have to face such a delay. A problem with your eyes can really impact on your quality of life and even your ability to work and drive.’

In comparison, figures for the Central Belt showed all 11,379 patients were treated within the Scottish Government target.

Mr Stewart added: ‘It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that some patients in the Central Belt, where there is a larger population, are getting a better service than here in the Highlands.

‘No-one can blame our hard-pressed NHS staff because it rests with the Scottish Government to find a solution. They set the standards and they need to help health authorities meet targets.