2nd June 2011
MP challenges local restrictions to cataract surgery
Gordon Henderson MP met with RNIB at a parliamentary reception to learn more about the availability of cataract surgery to people in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.
However, Mr Henderson was concerned to find that RNIB did not seem to have received a response to a Freedom of Information request sent to Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT asking for information about their policy on cataract surgery.
Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT is part of a Strategic Health Authority area where several PCT apply thresholds to cataract surgery and Mr Henderson is therefore concerned that their failure to respond to RNIB's request may indicate that the PCT is also restricting access rather than following Royal College of Ophthalmologists guidance.
Mr Henderson said: "Cataract surgery is safe and has been shown to be both cost effective and clinically effective, so I want to make sure that the people of Sittingbourne and Sheppey have access to this treatment. I have contacted Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT asking them to provide information on their cataract surgery policy both to RNIB and to me. If there are restrictions in place or plans to introduce any I will be requesting an urgent meeting to discuss these."
Steve Winyard, Head of Campaigns at RNIB, said: "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. We hope that Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT will provide us with information on their policy, and that this will show they are continuing to provide their patients with excellent access to treatment."