New NHS fast-track cataract service opens in Gloucestershire
20 Mar 2019
20 Mar 2019
A NEW eyecare clinic in Gloucester, a leading approved provider of NHS-funded ophthalmology services, was officially opened by MP Richard Graham this Friday 9 March.
The Newmedica clinic in the Aspen Centre in Horton Road is open to both private and NHS patients with the aim of offering greater choice and reduced waiting times for ophthalmology services.
All treatment and care offered at the clinic is consultant-led, with services including cataract surgery and glaucoma management.
Headed up by clinical director, Nigel Kirkpatrick MD FRCOphth and operational director, Carl Hall, the Newmedica team is working in conjunction with the NHS, local optometrists and GPs to help offer a fast track community ophthalmology service.
‘We are delighted to be welcoming Richard Graham to officially open the centre,’ says Nigel, a consultant ophthalmologist who has been serving communities in Gloucestershire for more than 20 years.
‘Our focus here is to offer patients the highest quality eyecare - accessible and affordable for all - in a state-of-the-art, clean and comfortable environment. We welcome referrals from all high street opticians, as well as direct from GPs, and are focussed on providing a community-based surgical option which will help support existing NHS services provided by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Trust.’
Ruth Cowley, aged 59 and from Eastington, was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes and after being referred to Newmedica by her GP, had her first operation six weeks later. ‘Two years ago I started to notice my sight was worsening and I had difficulty seeing when driving in the dark,’ says Ruth. ‘I wear contact lenses and was experiencing discomfort and blurring too but I thought it was just that the lenses were old.
‘The Newmedica staff were brilliant. They explained everything that would happen and were so attentive. I can now see things so much more clearly and small objects in the distance are that much sharper. I’m also much more confident driving in the dark, it’s done me the world of good.’
George Coulson, portfolio manager at building owners Assura plc, says: ‘This is a great example of why primary care buildings must offer space and flexibility to accommodate lots of different healthcare services under one roof – it helps the NHS offer services closer to home and means patients don’t have to travel so far for the treatments they need. We’re delighted to see Newmedica launching this pilot and wish the team every success.’
The service includes both diagnostics and treatment where appropriate. Patients can expect their first appointment within four weeks as standard after being referred by their GP. The clinic covers outpatient consultations and diagnostic scans, cataract surgery, YAG laser capsulotomy, oculoplastics and treatment for glaucoma, peripheral iridotomy and surgical retina services (excluding AMD).
Newmedica is partnered with Specsavers, which recognised that support and investment was needed to provide NHS-funded ophthalmology services to the community, to ultimately alleviate the ongoing pressure on the main NHS service and reduce waiting times.
Newmedica is one of the leading independent sector providers of NHS funded ophthalmology services in England, delivering over 120,000 patient interactions annually in more than 23 services across England.
In November 2016 Specsavers, the largest optometry provider to the NHS, made a major investment in a partnership with Newmedica to improve eye health services for patients in the community.
The private service is in addition to the NHS service and is offering cataract surgery from £1,995 per eye. A wider choice of cataract treatments is on offer, including special multifocal replacement lenses to reduce dependency on glasses and toric lenses to correct astigmatism, which are available at an additional cost. Appointments are available within seven days of request and surgery within 21 days after that.