Helping to drive down surgery waiting times in Merseyside

Merseyside residents who need NHS cataract surgery can benefit from a free transport service that is helping cut waiting times across the region for treatment.

With significant waits from referral to cataract surgery in the local area, SpaMedica – a UK-leading provider of NHS cataract surgery with hospitals in Liverpool  and Birkenhead  – can offer appointments within just four weeks.

It is supporting the NHS to reduce the cataracts backlog, thanks to its own bus network providing a free, door-to-door support service for patients who might otherwise be unable to access surgery to restore their sight.

The free transport service, running across England, can accommodate up to four people per trip, socially distanced, and has seen an average of over 1,500 SpaMedica patients journey to and from their appointments each month, with some travelling from far afield to attend hospital.

Dave Martin, from St Annes in Lancashire, is one of SpaMedica’s patient drivers. He previously worked at a Lancashire care home as a support worker for people with learning and physical difficulties, and conditions such as dementia. He says, “We’re helping people from all walks of life, from those with dementia who are vulnerable, to patients in their seventies and eighties who could run rings around me!

“It’s really rewarding because you know you’re making a difference. I had one patient who was extremely anxious and disliked motorways, so we did the entire journey only on A roads. I can cover around 500 miles per day, and some days it’s like going on a trip with friends because the patients on the bus gel and get along like a house on fire.”

Leanne Durante, regional manager for SpaMedica in the North West, said, “We’re dedicated to delivering the highest quality care, whilst helping to reduce significant NHS cataract surgery waiting times for patients.

“We operate our free bus service because we know NHS patients benefit from it – whether they’re vulnerable, live in rural locations with limited public transports links, or are travelling from further afield to reach us. Plus, the service is the first step in reducing any anxiety on the day of surgery.

“Our team of eyecare specialists work hard to ensure all of our patients feel welcome and calm before going in for their appointment, and we’re proud that over 99% of patients say they would recommend us to friends and family.

“Cataracts can rob people of their quality of life and independence, but for the majority of people it is a treatable condition, and the procedure itself is quick and straightforward.”

Common in adults – about 30% of adults aged 65+ will have a cataract that is affecting their vision and requires treatment – and cataract surgery is the most common operation performed today in the UK, with about 450,000 surgeries performed each year.

Cataracts Symptoms

You may experience one or more of the following cataracts symptoms:

  • A decrease in vision clarity that can’t be corrected with glasses
  • Colours appear faded or washed out, sometimes with a yellow haze
  • Sensitivity to light, glare, and seeing halos around lights
  • Frequent changes to glasses or contact lens prescriptions

It’s best to see an optician if you think you have cataracts. They will perform a thorough eye check and will be able refer you for treatment if needed.

To find out more visit www.spamedica.co.uk

Image: Dave Martin patient driver at SpaMedica.

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