John Baron MP speaks at RNIB Parliamentary reception about postcode lottery

July 31, 2013

John with the RNIB’s Chief Executive, Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE

MP challenges regional variation in cataract surgery

As Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Visual Impairment, John Baron MP recently hosted a Parliamentary reception on behalf of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). At the reception, the RNIB launched a new report revealing regional variations in access to cataract surgery across England.  John was a guest speaker, and spoke about the need to reduce the postcode lottery in cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is safe and has been shown to be both cost effective and clinically effective. However, many patients may be missing out on the vital surgery simply because of this postcode lottery.

John Baron MP said:

“Half of all visual impairment is avoidable, yet regional variation in cataract surgery has created a postcode lottery which is unacceptable.  I will be meeting the local NHS to discuss this issue. I am also writing to the Government requesting that NHS England work to address these failings.”

Clara Eaglen, RNIB Eye Health Campaigns Manager, said:

“NHS ‘efficiency savings’ achieved by cutting cataract operations are a false economy. Denying treatment leaves patients at risk of depression, social isolation and fall-related hip fractures. Treating mental health conditions and repairing hip fractures are substantially more costly to the NHS and social care services than cataract surgery.”

“We believe there is a clear need for a National Clinical Director for Eye Health. Without such a champion inside the NHS there is every danger that eye health and cataract surgery will yet again be sidelined.”

This second photograph gives an idea of what someone with cataracts would see if looking at the first photo

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