When any of us need medical treatment, we want it to happen quickly so that we can carry on doing the things that we love with as little interruption as possible.
So when 81-year-old classic car expert Peter Bond-Smith, from Ledbury, found out that he needed a cataract operation, he was delighted to find out that there was somewhere locally that could deal with it fast, at no cost to him – Newmedica in Gloucester, which has just celebrated its second birthday in the town.
Peter said: ‘When my optician told me that I had a cataract and should think about having it removed, I was not looking forward to the prospect at all.
‘Then, while working on a car the following day, I had a chance encounter with a woman who had recently had a cataract removed at the Newmedica clinic in Gloucester. She was so delighted by the service she had received and the speed of her treatment that I felt far more comfortable about having it done – and asked my optician to refer me to them right away.’
A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside your eye. They normally develop very slowly, and are often picked up during a routine eye test. As they worsen, you can notice your sight becoming misty and cloudy, or you may find that you are more sensitive to light, for example. Cataracts are a normal part of the ageing process, although can be influenced by other factors too, and require surgical treatment.
Newmedica is one of the leading providers of NHS-funded ophthalmology services in England. Their consultant ophthalmologists are UK trained and have considerable experience in delivering specialist eye care treatments at no cost to patients.
They aim to see patients within a couple of weeks, and treat within six weeks of referral. The types of treatment include cataract surgery, ocular hypertension and glaucoma management, eyelid and tear duct surgery, and medical retina and general ophthalmology services. And any optician or GP can refer patients to Newmedica any time.
Peter was treated for his cataract within three weeks of referral, something which he really appreciated for a number of reasons, not least the fact that he wanted to hold on to his Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) licence for his part-time job as a tanker driver.
He is also a retired motor-engineer, car and lorry accident repair specialist and skilled paint sprayer – and has raced all over Europe, including a thrilling tussle at Silverstone. Peter still has a passion for classic cars for which he needs his eyesight to stay in tip-top condition.
Peter said: ‘To be treated so fast was amazing, especially as a friend had waited almost a year to have one removed elsewhere, and the clinic was great too. I felt really confident after my assessment, and was impressed by the professionalism of the staff – and how clean the clinic was.
‘When I arrived for my treatment, I received a friendly and professional service from start to finish. It might seem strange to say that an operation was a good experience, but it really was, and I would like to thank everyone at Newmedica in Gloucester for looking after me so well.
‘When I next saw my GP, I was shocked to find out that she had not heard of Newmedica, so I told her all about my experience and shared information about their services with her to share with her colleagues. I hope it will lead to others being referred to the clinic so that they can have the same experience I did.’
Newmedica in Gloucester provides services for both NHS and private patients. The clinic is led by consultant ophthalmologists, Nigel Kirkpatrick and Adam Ross, alongside operational director, Carl Hall. It celebrated its second birthday this August.
Nigel said: ‘We were all delighted to hear that Peter had such a great experience with us, and that we were able to treat him so quickly. He is a real character, who has lived a fascinating life so far, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
‘Our aim is to make high-quality eye health services accessible to everyone, whenever they need them. Eye problems can have a massive impact on everyday life, so getting them resolved quickly is vital to help everything get back to normal as soon as possible. Patients can ask to be referred to us by their GP or optometrist on the NHS, which is quick and easy for all concerned.
‘Over the course of the last two years we have done thousands of procedures for thousands of satisfied patients. It gives us a great deal of personal and professional satisfaction to be able to help so many people, and we hope to be able to help many more. You can find out more about what we do, and see some patient reviews, on the NHS website.
‘Our mission is to make eyecare better for patients, GPs, optometrists, the NHS and the communities that we serve.’