Mike has met with Health Minister Earl Howe to raise the issue of improving patient information and choice of cataract treatments, and to press him to commit in principle to bringing about a positive change in the way that such treatments are provided in the future.
Brighton & Hove City Primary Care Trust was responsible for over 3,000 cataract operations in the last year. Around 30% of people in the UK aged 65 years and over have cataracts in one or both eyes that impair their vision. Informing patients and giving them the possibility to choose from the range of existing treatments, such as advanced intraocular lenses which are implanted in the eye, would see a societal benefit in terms of better vision, mobility and confidence in older people. Furthermore, the NHS should see a much needed financial gain, in the region of £30 million over a 10 year period, in terms of a lesser need for spectacles plus a reduced incidence of falls amongst the elderly.
Speaking after the meeting, Mike said, “I was warmly received by the Minister and am glad that he was prepared to listen to the very strong arguments for increased patient information and choice in cataract treatment. Indeed, it is clear to me that cataract patients are not being informed in many cases about treatment options available to them and consequently are not able to make informed choices. If patients, along with their doctors, choose the most appropriate option for them then they should not lose their right to cataract surgery on the NHS”.
Mike is determined to ensure that cataract treatment is prioritised in the ongoing discussions on health reforms. It is especially important given the continual demographic change in the UK and the need for people to remain active, healthy and confident.