The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Monday launched a programme to eliminate the waiting list of patients for cataract surgery.
Chief Executive Officer Dr Dexter James this morning revealed that some 500 Barbadians were awaiting surgery to correct the medical condition.
The QEH, he said, would work with private health care institutions through the Cataract Initiative to significantly reduce this number.
“To ensure that this cataract programme is successful, we have secured the required resources to ensure sustainability of the initiative. Such includes cataract packs, medications and related supplies. Additionally, we are currently finalizing arrangements with the private sector to utilize spare operating room capacity so that our ophthalmologists are presented with additional surgery capacity to expand throughout,” Dr James told a press conference to launch the initiative.
He said that as the hospital aims to be the leading public health facility in the region, the quality of service at the island’s main health care facility would be improved with patients guaranteed shorter waiting times and the public expanded visitation privileges..
Head of Department Dr Trevor Drakes said the current list of cataract patients awaiting surgery would be cleared within the next three months.
“The initial plan is to do two weeks of just cataract surgery every month for the next three months. Obviously if the supplies aren’t here we will have to change that up, but we will actually probably be doing six weeks of cataract surgery within the hospital and outside as well,” Dr Drakes said.
“Based on my calculations we will be on target to knock off the 500 patients. To ensure that this happens we have managed to source some additional equipment and that new equipment should be here quickly.”
Dr Drakes is also encouraging Barbadians to address problems of cataract before they worsen.
“A lot of the elderly people believe that in the old days you have to wait to your cataract gets to the stage where it is white. You don’t have to wait until that stage. You need to address your cataract when it is actually affecting the quality of your lifestyle.”
The cataract initiative is being supported by Lenstec Inc, the manufacturer of intraocular lenses, which will supply the cataract packs.