Increase in Direct Access Cataract Waiting Times at Rowley Hall Hospital
Staffordshire LOC has recently been contacted by Mel Savage, Head of Commissioning at Stafford & Surrounds (SAS) and Cannock Chase (CC) CCGs. Mel informs us that Rowley Hall hospital is currently struggling with the demand for cataract procedures, and she is concerned about the waiting times patients are now experiencing.
SAS and CC CCGs have looked at some trend data. Apparently there has been an overall increase in the demand across all providers over the last 12 months, but more so at Rowley Hall.
Rowley’s waiting times are currently in the region of 17 weeks for surgery in the first eye, and the times for the second eye are being compromised. By contrast, Cannock Eye Clinic waiting times are considerably less (currently 6 weeks). Mel naturally assumes that a disproportionate number of patients are being directed to Rowley, who simply can’t cope with the volume of patients sent to them.
In the light of this information, Staffordshire LOC asks that all optometrists participating in the South Staffs Direct Access Cataract (DAC) pathway should consider other local providers (Cannock Chase Eye Clinic, Queens Hospital Burton, Wolverhampton Eye Clinic, Walsall, Kidderminster and Good Hope) whose waiting times may be lower than Rowley’s.
Also, please keep in mind the DAC pathway referral protocol when considering whether or not to refer patients for cataract surgery. This can be found on the LOC website's secured page, which can be reached from the following web-link: < http://www.staffsloc.co.uk/downloads/ >. The secured page is password-protected and intended exclusively for the use of Staffordshire optometrists and dispensing opticians. Any Staffordshire optometrist or dispensing optician still without a password, but who wishes to visit the secured page; should either email or write to LOC secretary Alison Lowell, giving his or her full name, GOC number and practice(s) currently working in. Once your details have been validated, Alison will send you a reply containing your password.
If the demand doesn’t start to reduce at Rowley, patients will have to start being transferred to other providers, as Rowley are not allowed to breach the 18 week referral to treatment targets. As you can appreciate, this could cause the patients affected a lot of disappointment and anxiety.