Use of primary eye care providers can dramatically reduce cataract waiting lists for good

Cork North West TD, Aindrias Moynihan has said that long term progress in dealing with unacceptable waiting lists for cataract operations will only be made when a decision is made to move to a primary care model for eye care in Cork and the rest of the country.

Deputy Moynihan was commenting after raising the issue in the Dáil with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.

“I outlined to the Minister that with 6900 people on CUH’s outpatient waiting list and a further 1000 on the South Infirmary inpatient list, the National Treatment Purchase Fund will not deal with the root cause of the waiting lists.

“The NTPF does a good job. It helps ensure treatment for those waiting incredibly long times, but why is no one asking how those people end up waiting so long in the first instance?

“I firmly believe that our overreliance on a hospital based system is the cause. Too many of our ophthalmological services take place in acute hospital settings where there are chronic capacity issues already.

“We have seen in the North West of the country that making better use of primary eye care services, based in the community, can dramatically reduce waiting times for everyone.

“I reiterated to the Minister that this should be rolled out across the country to reduce waiting times for everyone and for ever.

“The ‘Sligo Model’ as it is known can work for the people of Cork. Minister Harris needs to move quickly to roll it out and ensure that the disgraceful waiting lists for cataract operations become a thing of the past.

“Opticians up and down Cork can be utilised to provide some of the pre and post services that patients need.  The net result would be less patients having to attend acute hospitals for routine appointments,” concluded Moynihan.