A programme launched in January of this year by the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) to eliminate the waiting list of patients for cataract surgery, will be completed at the end of this month, one month later than scheduled, according to a QEH official.
Consultant and Head of the Department of Opthalmology Dr Trevor Drakes said of the 288 patients booked to receive cataract surgery under the programme, 256 have had the operation.
The remaining 32 had to be postponed for a variety of reasons, including equipment malfunction, public holidays and patients having high blood pressure or viral illnesses.
“Public holidays accounted for 32 hours lost in addition to limited operating theatre time. This equates to 15 operating days lost. The foregoing would have therefore impacted on our previously stated date of completion, April, 2017,” Dr Drake told reporters at a briefing at the hospital’s board room.
Altogether there were 537 patients on the wait-list for cataract surgery as at December 31 last year the ophthalmologist said.
He explained that patients with viral illnesses such as pneumonia or respiratory tract infections, and those with elevated blood pressure were high-risk and every effort had to be made to improve their condition before eye surgery.
“High blood pressure presents a significant risk in cataract surgery. If the patient has a pretty bad haemorrhage the contents of the eye is forced out, this explains why patients who have uncontrolled high blood pressure are rescheduled. Similarly, a person who has a viral illness such as pneumonia or a respiratory track infection which are accompanied by excessive coughing present major challenges to the success of cataract surgery,” Dr Drakes said.
He said the project was being undertaken by 13 consultants, with the support of six junior doctors and six operating theatre nurses.