One of the first patients to receive sight-saving surgery at the Newmedica Frome eye health clinic and surgical centre has spoken about how it’s changed his life.
Jamie Garden, 71, was the first patient through the doors of the new location within Frome Medical Centre, Enos Way, Frome, BA11 2FH, where in excess of £100,000 of investment in new equipment had been installed before its opening in December 2020.
Mr Garden had a cataract removed after experiencing a severe deterioration of his sight in the past year. Surgery prevented an increased loss of vision that would ultimately have led to blindness in the affected eye.
Newmedica Frome employs up to 10 staff on a theatre day, including consultants, optometrists, nurses, healthcare assistants and ophthalmic technicians.
Opening this new centre is seen as a big boost for Somerset, enabling many more people to have eye surgery without having to wait months.
Mr Garden had been told there was a lengthy waiting list for cataract-removal operations, but Newmedica opening the Frome site meant he was able to have the surgery within weeks of his first appointment, as wait times for cataract surgery within Newmedica Frome are extremely low.
Mr Garden, who lives in Bath, says: ‘I felt I wasn’t seeing very well, but I thought it was just an age
thing. It’s amazing how used you become to the slow deterioration of your eyesight.
‘I was told I’d have to wait 12-14 months to have my cataract removed, but when I went to Newmedica they told me that the Frome site was opening very soon and I could be seen really quickly. It wasn’t until I’d had the operation that I realised just how bad my sight had been. I expected it to be different but not to the extent it is. It’s astonishing.’
Patients are typically referred to Newmedica Frome by a GP or optometrist.
The Frome site is part of Newmedica Bristol, which has a well-established clinic and surgical centre in Clifton and Langford in Bristol.
Julian Phillips, operational director at Newmedica Bristol, says: ‘We were delighted to welcome our first new patients to the Frome eye health clinic after a long period of planning. Mr Garden has shown that no-one needs to feel apprehensive about having treatment for their eyesight and I am thrilled that he felt he had an excellent experience.
‘We have a trusted track record of working closely with the NHS to carry out a range of specialist eyecare services at no cost to patients, using the latest innovations from the ophthalmology industry, as well as a dedicated professional ophthalmology team.