Research carried out by the ophthalmology team at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre has led to a one-stop cataract service which has boosted the number of people treated for the sight-clouding condition.
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye, causing blurred vision. They can make reading and driving difficult or impossible and, if untreated, can lead to blindness. Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre’s ophthalmology consultant, Dr Teresa Anthony, and colleagues carried out a two-year study to perfect a way to improve efficiency and results for patients.
Dr Anthony explained: “The conventional pathway for cataract surgery involves a minimum of three ophthalmic visits. The idea of a one-stop approach was not new, but previous models showed low levels of take-up and poor patient satisfaction. Our challenge was to create a service that provided excellent results, maximised NHS resources and left patients happy with the service they received.”
The proposed model for the one–stop cataract surgery consisted of an initial telephone consultation with a specialist nurse, followed by a visit to the treatment centre.
At the hospital visit, the patient has a pre-op assessment, is seen by the doctor and surgery immediately follows. The maximum amount of time spent in the Emersons Green centre is just two hours. The post-operation visit is then done at the patient’s regular opticians.
The surgical results were the same as those using the longer, conventional method and the feedback from patients was high, with 97 per cent giving the service a high satisfaction rating.
Dr Anthony said: “The one-stop service has many benefits: it reduces anxiety and it is popular because the accompanying relative or friend only has to take time off for one visit. It provides excellent value for money for the NHS and means we can carry out more surgeries. All that means fewer people in the Bristol and Bath area having to struggle on for long periods with impaired sight.”