Minister for Health officially opens Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital Dedicated Cataract Unit

Minister for Health officially opens Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital Dedicated Cataract Unit

A new purpose built Cataract Unit at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital was officially opened by Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris on Monday, 3rd July. 

Capital funding for the unit was provided by the RVEEH Teaching and Development Foundation.  The unit is a state of the art facility which was developed to increase theatre capacity within the hospital and to provide a cost effective solution to increasing waiting lists for cataract procedures.  The development of a cataract unit was one of the main proposals detailed in the hospitals Ophthalmology Strategy 2015-2020 published in 2015. 

The opening of the unit has been welcomed by stakeholders and the hospital is actively engaged in obtaining operational funding in 2017 and 2018.  The hospital hopes to clear its own waiting list by the end of 2018. Waiting lists across the other 11 hospitals in the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) are also hoped to be eliminated by the end of 2019.

Currently, there are 3,180 patients on the waiting lists in the group, with an average wait time of eight and a half months. Without the additional capacity, this was forecast to grow to 12,000 by 2021 due to increasing demand as the population ages.  The new unit provides a 36% increase in capacity within the hospital group.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the opening "is a real demonstration that our health service can respond to the challenges that we face and deliver better outcomes for patients."

Speaking at the launch, Mr Harris made reference to the recently published Primary Eye Care Report, promising to make resources available to implement the primary eye-care strategy.

The new cataract unit will be open four days a week and will prioritise the longest-waiting patients.

Listen to RTE Radio 1 News at One interview with Eye Surgeon and Medical Director of the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Mr Paul Moriarty here



4th July 2017