09 May ‘Overstretched NHS’ threatens UK eye health
In a chilling warning for an ageing society, an eminent Ophthalmologist claims hundreds in the UK already suffer irreversible sight loss every year due to insufficient NHS resources.
Writing for the BBC, Professor Carrie MacEwen, president of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, says that we are experiencing a “perfect storm” of more eye disease as a result of an ever-ageing population, which in turn is placing increased demands on an already overstretched NHS.
Ironically, advances in medicine are partly to blame, as conditions which were hitherto untreatable, such as Macular Degeneration, can now be treated successfully, this increasing demand on eye clinics. Demand on eye clinics has risen by up to 30% over the last five years, and targets set for hospitals to see new patients are forcing follow-up patients further down the waiting list with disastrous consequences. As there are no targets for follow-ups, data is not routinely gathered, making the magnitude of the problem unclear.