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Powell Media Release – LNP announces Blitz Focused on Local Eye Surgery (21 October 2014)

The wait for important eye surgery will soon be over for almost 2,800 patients of Metro North and Sunshine Coast combined Hospital Health Services with the LNP Government today announcing a $23.4 million blitz to bring them much-needed relief.

Andrew Powell, LNP Member for Glass House said the new statewide campaign to slash ophthalmology (eye surgery) long wait lists will improve the quality of life for patients who have been queuing for treatment for too long, with vision impairment or debilitating eye conditions.

“We are progressively revitalising the Queensland health system and the LNP Government is now focussing firmly on the unacceptably long wait for ophthalmology appointments to ensure Queenslanders have better access to vital eye care,” Mr Powell said.

“In September this year, there were more than 7900 people in Queensland waiting longer than clinically recommended for an initial ophthalmology appointment.

“Queensland Health has engaged ophthalmology service providers in a bid to clear this long wait list.

“We all know and appreciate how important good eye sight is to people’s health and well-being and the Government has a strong plan to ensure Queenslanders who have been waiting too long to see an ophthalmologist get that important treatment.”

Mr Powell said the contracts with service providers were developed off the back of the Queensland Government’s successful campaign to provide cochlear implants for people with hearing loss.

“The Government has accepted proposals from service providers which will mean every ophthalmic patient who had waited longer than clinically recommended will be seen and treated by 30 June, 2015,” Mr Powell said.

“Patients will be assessed for a range of vision impairments and debilitating eye conditions, such as cataracts, before receiving medical treatment or surgery if required.

The multi-million dollar eye surgery blitz follows the release of new long wait elective surgery figures showing a massive reduction of more than 90 per cent in the number of patients waiting longer than clinically recommended for their surgery.

Mr Powell said the services would be delivered in addition to ophthalmology services currently available and did not represent a cut to existing public hospital services. Health and Hospital Services around the state will retain current funding for the delivery of healthcare in line with their service agreement.
“In addition to this project, longer-term strategies are being developed to ensure Queenslanders have better access to ophthalmology services into the future,” Mr Powell said.

“It will allow patients to be treated as close to their place of residence as efficiently, effectively and safely as possible.”

Mr Powell said Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg would soon send letters out to eligible local ophthalmology patients to advise them of the good news.

[ENDS] 21 October 2014

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