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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-11247

  • Asked by: Foysol Choudhury, MSP for Lothian, Scottish Labour
  • Date lodged: 29 September 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 27 October 2022

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to support people who are waiting for cataract operations whose livelihoods are threatened by the condition in the meantime.


Answer

To provide patients with some reassurance around the possible length of their wait, the Scottish Government have launched a new online platform, which is available at https://www.nhsinform.scot/waiting-times . Developed in conjunction with NHS 24 and PHS, the platform provides patients with information on planned care waiting times by giving an indication of how long patients typically waited over the last quarter. This includes information on the number of patients admitted for treatment as well as the typical wait experienced by people during this time period.

We recognise the impact that long waiting times can have on a patient’s mental health, so the platform also includes information for patients to keep as fit and healthy as possible while waiting for treatment. In addition, the Healthy living | NHS inform page provides advice and tools which includes information on mental wellbeing.

In an effort to reduce the waiting time for patients awaiting cataract surgery, Health Boards across NHSScotland are undertaking additional cataract surgical sessions and independent sector contractors are providing additional support, within NHS facilities, to increase the number of cataract procedures delivered. This will reduce the overall number of patients waiting for surgery as well as their length of wait.

In tandem with this – and in line with guidance from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists - Scottish Government clinically led peer reviews are taking place across all Health Boards. Supporting teams to adopt more efficient ways of working in order to increase the number of patients that can be treated within each cataract only surgical session forms part of these reviews.

Sequential bilateral cataract surgery is also undertaken by some surgeons, particularly in remote and rural areas and where patients’ ability to work has been affected. This prevents duplication of effort across the patient’s journey, as well as reducing the carbon footprint.

The Scottish Government has also commissioned the Centre for Sustainable Delivery (CfSD) to support an increase in theatre productivity, including the development of a national Blueprint which will outline how Health Boards can increase efficiency across the cataract surgical journey. This will be disseminated to all Health Boards in the coming weeks.