Target of 600 Cataract Procedures by April

Manx Care has a target of clearing 600 people off the waiting list for cataracts by the Spring, a written answer has revealed.

In July, the Treasury approved a £1.86m bid from DHSC and Manx Care to help clear the growing waiting lists which were made worse by Covid.

Following a written answer (the first using the new method) from Speaker Juan Watterson about how many people would benefit and when, former DHSC Minister, now Treasury Minister, David Ashford said: ‘Manx Care are looking to contract an insourcing provider to undertake cataract operations for up to 600 patients on the Noble’s Hospital site.

‘The insourcing provider will clinically assess and validate all patients on the cataract waiting list. As the additional theatre lists will be done at the weekend, clinicians will avoid selecting patients who have significant clinical co- morbidities or require an anaesthetist for their procedure. Over the next three months Patients will be contacted and given a date for their pre-operative assessment and subsequently for their operation. Manx Care aim to have completed all 600 procedures by the March 31 2022.’

Once this initial push is finished, Manx Care then aims to reduce the waiting time for cataract operations to three months, starting once a person has been listed for surgery.

Hip Replacements

Also benefiting from this injection of public money are those waiting for a hip replacement, however the lack of anaesthetists at Noble’s is continuing to impact on the waiting list.

Mr Ashford’s answer also revealed that: ‘As of October 7 there are a total of 184 patients waiting for a hip replacement, with an additional 4 patients on the list but ‘suspended’ for either personal or medical reasons. Out of this 184 patients, 61 have been on the list for more than 12 months. In 2021, based on 25 of the most recent hip replacements done, the average waiting time from listing for surgery until the operation was 18.6 months.

‘During 2021, elective orthopaedic procedures were suspended from mid-July to late-September as the hospital was escalated to cope with an increase in Covid positive patients, resulting in the elective orthopaedic ward being used to accommodate patients from other specialties. This has severely impacted the waiting list for all major joint replacements. Elective orthopaedic surgery recommenced in late September however throughput is reduced due to shortages within the anaesthetic workforce.

‘Our ability to undertake additional hip replacement procedures on island to help recover the waiting list position is limited to a number of factors, principally capacity within the elective orthopaedic ward. The ward has a limited number of beds based on planned elective joint replacement work taking place during the week, therefore there is a risk that by doing additional work during the weekend, there will then be insufficient beds available during the week resulting in cancellations. Further work is underway to look at other options to try to recover the waiting list position for hip and knee replacements and other major orthopaedic surgery.’

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