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233% hike in eyecare treatment delays

The number of patients waiting more than nine months for ophthalmology treatment in Wales has risen by 233 per cent in the last two years.

 

Welsh Conservatives have questioned the huge increase and called for swift action from the Welsh Labour Government to address long delays for patients.

 

Latest statistics show 5,701 people had been waiting more than 36 weeks for a hospital appointment at the end of July this year, compared to 2,343 twelve months ago and 1,709 in July 2013.

 

The increase follows recent criticism from the Royal National Institute for the Blind, which warned of ‘dire capacity problems’ within eye clinics and patients losing their sight while waiting for appointments and treatment.

 

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, said:

 

“This huge hike in delays highlights the severity of the problems facing eye patients in Wales.

 

“Long waits for medical and surgical management of eye conditions aren’t new – but it’s clear they’re spiralling out of control.

 

“Labour ministers should’ve listened to the RNIB when it first raised serious concerns. Instead, they’ve continued to ignore the problem.

 

“In many of these cases – eyesight could be at risk.

 

“We also need to know how long it’s taking patients to access the follow-up appointments they need.

 

“Labour ministers must act now to put this right.”