Eye surgery vision in sight

The wait for important eye surgery will soon be over for almost 8,000 Queensland patients with a $23.4 million blitz bringing them much-needed relief.

Premier Campbell Newman said the new state-wide campaign to slash the ophthalmology (eye surgery) long wait list would improve the quality of life for patients who had been queuing for treatment for too long, with vision impairment or debilitating eye conditions.

“We are fixing the Queensland health system piece by piece and the Government is now focussing firmly on the unacceptably long wait for ophthalmology appointments to ensure Queenslanders have better access to vital eye care,” Mr Newman said.

“In September this year, there were more than 7,900 people in Queensland waiting longer than clinically recommended for an initial ophthalmology appointment.  

“Queensland Health has engaged ophthalmology service providers in a bid to clear this long wait list.

“We all know and appreciate how important good eye sight is to people’s health and well-being and the Government has a strong plan to ensure that Queenslanders who have been waiting too long to see an ophthalmologist get that important treatment.”

Mr Newman said the contracts with service providers were developed off the back of the Queensland Government’s successful campaign to provide cochlear implants for people with hearing loss.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the Government had accepted proposals from service providers that would mean every ophthalmic patient who had waited longer than clinically recommended would be seen and treated by 30 June, 2015.

“Patients will be assessed for a range of vision impairments and debilitating eye conditions, such as cataracts, before receiving medical treatment or surgery if required,” Mr Springborg said.

The multi-million dollar eye surgery blitz follows the release of new long wait elective surgery figures showing a massive reduction of more than 90 per cent.

Mr Springborg said the services would be delivered in addition to ophthalmology services currently available and did not represent a cut to existing public hospital services.

“Health and Hospital Services around the state will retain current funding for the delivery of healthcare in line with their service agreement,” Mr Springborg said.

“In addition to this project, longer-term strategies are being developed to ensure Queenslanders have better access to ophthalmology services into the future.

“The additional ophthalmology services will be available state-wide, providing greater accessibility for patients in metropolitan and regional areas.

“It will allow patients to be treated as close to their place of residence as efficiently, effectively and safely as possible.”

Mr Springborg said he would send letters out to ophthalmology patients this week to advise them of the good news.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure Queenslanders with a range of eye conditions get treated sooner,” he said.

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