Jump to content

Eye doctors say private cataract operations have hurt the NHS

The vast majority of eye doctors believe increased outsourcing of cataract operations to private clinics in England in recent years has negatively affected their NHS departments, research has found.

Almost three-quarters of ophthalmologists surveyed said that outsourcing of cataracts to the private sector had a negative impact on their NHS eye care departments, with 54% flagging a large negative impact and 16% a small one.

The survey of 200 eye doctors by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI), shared with the Guardian, came after Wes Streeting, the new health secretary, pledged to divert billions of pounds from hospitals to GPs to “fix the front door to the NHS” and met junior doctors on Tuesday to try to end a long-running pay dispute.

Nearly 60% of the ophthalmologists polled said outsourcing had a negative impact on NHS staffing, 62% said the same for staff training, and 46% said it harmed the ability of public eye care departments to treat patients with more complex conditions. Issues raised about staffing included the loss of consultants, nurses and optometrists to the private sector.

While eye care budgets have increased by only 15% at 43 NHS trusts over the past five years, ophthalmology spending has gone up by 52%, partly due to a surge in the number of cataract operations, research from the CHPI showed. Hundreds of thousands more NHS patients a year are having cataracts removed in England in a boom driven by private clinics but funded by taxpayers.

Read full story

Source: The Guardian, 10 July 2024


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...