Steve meets with the RNIB and Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Steve McCabe MP met with RNIB and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists at a parliamentary reception to learn more about the availability of cataract surgery to people in Birmingham.
 
Cataract surgery is safe and has been shown to be both cost effective and clinically effective. Steve was concerned to learn that NHS South Birmingham is currently reviewing its policy on access to cataract treatment. The majority of West Midlands PCTs already have restrictions on treatment in place, and South Birmingham could go the same way, meaning that many people in the area could have to wait till they have lost a significant amount of sight, with a serious impact on their quality of life, before they are able to receive surgery.
 
Steve McCabe MP said "I am worried by the potential impact of NHS South Birmingham’s review of access to cataract surgery. Older people in our area, who would benefit from this cost-effective surgery, could be forced to wait for it while their vision deteriorates. I have contacted NHS South Birmingham to ask them about the progress of their review into eligibility for cataract treatment, as I do not want to see undone the excellent progress that has been made since the cataract waiting time initiative was introduced in 2002. I will be seeking an urgent meeting with Commissioners at the PCT to find a way forward that ensures people with cataracts are treated promptly and on clinical need."
 
Steve Winyard, Head of Campaigns at RNIB, said "Delaying cataract operations is a false economy.  A patient whose sight is restricted by a cataract will, at some stage, absolutely need surgery. Delays can also stop a patient from living an independent life.  We believe that cataract surgery should continue to be performed when consultants, in discussion with their patients, have decided that it is in the patients' best interest, and in line with The Royal College of Ophthalmologists' guidelines."
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About RNIB
Everyday around 100 people in the UK start to lose their sight.  There are around 2 million people in the UK with sight problems. RNIB is the leading charity working in the UK offering practical support, advice and information for anyone with sight difficulties. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk
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