A cash boost of £20m has been promised by the government to update the delivery of cataract services in the UK.
The government believes that this investment will provide 50 modern treatment and recovery facilities across the country within the next two years.
As a result, Labour is promising that no patient will have to wait more than six months from referral to treatment, with the number of cataract operations carried out each year rising from 170,000 to 250,000 next year.
As part of the initiative:
Individuals will be given the opportunity to pre-book hospital appointments from a choice of dates and times, removing the uncertainty of being on a waiting list and not being sure when the next stage of treatment will take place.
There will be a one stop assessment appointment to ensure the patient is ready for an operation if one is required.
A home on the same day treatment service will be offered as this is preferred by most patients.
The number of appointments made with GPs, opticians and hospitals should be drastically reduced overall.
Former health secretary, Frank Dobson commented: “Waiting for cataract surgery is distressing for thousands of sufferers. This investment will bring about a real improvement in the lives of many older people. It will enable faster treatment in modern facilities and reduce anxiety by allowing patients to book their next appointment there and then.”
As a result of the announcement, the Department of Health will be issuing guidance on best practice on cataract surgery.