Hove MP sees hope for cataract patients

Posted On 20 May 2011 at 9:02 pm

Hove Conservative MP Mike Weatherley wants cataract patients to be given better information about the treatments available for them.

Mr Weatherley raised the issue with Health Minister Earl Howe at a meeting, urging the minister to ensure patients had better information and more choice.

He wants patients to be aware of existing treatments, such as advanced intraocular lenses which are implanted in the eye.

He said that about 30 per cent of people in Britain aged 65 years and over had cataracts in one or both eyes that impaired their vision.

And he said that Brighton and Hove City Teaching Primary Care Trust was responsible for more than 3,000 cataract operations in the last year.

The trust – also known as NHS Brighton and Hove – would be among those to benefit financially from better treatment, Mr Weatherley said.

Fewer patients would need glasses on the NHS and fewer elderly patients would be more mobile, healthier and less likely to need hospital treatment after having a fall.

He said that this could save the NHS £30 million over ten years.

Speaking after the meeting, Mike Weatherley MP said: “I was warmly received by the minister and am glad that he was prepared to listen to the very strong arguments for increased patient information and choice in cataract treatment.

“Indeed, it is clear to me that cataract patients are not being informed in many cases about treatment options available to them and consequently are not able to make informed choices.

“If patients, along with their doctors, choose the most appropriate option for them then they should not lose their right to cataract surgery on the NHS.”

Mr Weatherley said that he was determined to ensure that cataract treatment was prioritised in the continuing discussions about health reforms.

It was especially important, he said, given the continual demographic change and the need for people to remain active, healthy and confident.

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