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FODO reveals report findings on Ophthalmology waiting lists

FODO reveals report findings on Ophthalmology waiting lists

Ophthalmology tops hidden waiting list in England

About 11 million people are waiting for follow-up appointments at acute trusts, according to research published by the think-tank Reform. This is on top of the commonly reported 7.75 million people waiting for their first elective appointment.

In its report on the hidden waitlist: the growing follow-up backlog, Reform ranks ophthalmology as having the highest average number of people waiting per trust. It notes that it has had consistently high follow-up waitlists since 2019.

The report also warns that delays in follow-up care have resulted in patients suffering permanent visual loss, with people waiting for follow-up care nine times more likely to suffer harm than new patients. Reform notes that about 30% more patients are now on ophthalmology waitlists than before the pandemic and people with chronic ophthalmological conditions like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are at particular risk. It added: “This is likely to worsen as the population continues to age.”

FODO managing director Harjit Sandhu
said: “This research is another red flag.
We have known for many years that people needlessly lose sight while waiting for hospital eye care. This sight loss is 100% avoidable by using primary eye care capacity better, as we set out in Principles and priorities.
We all know the hospital outpatient model of eye care is not sustainable and cannot meet the nation’s eye health needs. ICBs urgently need to commission enhanced primary eye care services to help support the glaucoma caseload, and reduce pressure on hospital eye services and prevent all cases of sight loss due to delays in care.”

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