Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney has slammed the Health Service Executive after a new survey showed people in the constituency were waiting an average of two years for cataract operations.
Minister Canney has called on the HSE to support the national roll-out of an award-winning initiative in Sligo which has seen waiting times cut to 14 months.
He said: “The survey by the Association of Optometrists Ireland has highlighted systemic problems in waiting times for treatment.
“Cataracts are highly debilitating for older people but operations can be transformative in terms of quality of life.
“In Sligo, optometrists examined patients in the community at the same time as they were getting appointments for their glasses’ prescription. This not only makes the process more efficient but saves money.”
In the meantime, Minister Canney urged those facing long waiting periods to apply to the National Treatment Purchase Fund to investigate the possibility of getting treatment outside the State.
The Optometrists’ survey found that people in Galway East, who could afford private care, only had to wait less than three months to get cataract operations.
The survey also revealed that children in the constituency who needed to see the Community Opthalmic Optician were waiting up to nine months.
The Association of Optometrists criticised the HSE for abolishing vision screening for sixth class students without putting in place a new national scheme for children’s eye-care.
For more information, contact Minister Canney on 086-2513639
June 17 2019