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GP has told me I need to go private to have cataracts surgery

(102 Posts)
user1474095534 Sat 17-Sep-16 08:09:39

It seems like they will only do surgery if it gets so bad you are loosing your eye sight, by this time it's too late! It's surgery that isn't too expensive and has a great success rate so it should be readily available.

I did work for over 30 years, always paid my stamp in return for cradle to grave health care, but I don't think the government are sticking to their side of the contract.

Musicaltheatremum Sat 17-Sep-16 08:30:35

There is an optimum time to do it. There has to be something to gain. If your vision isn't too badly affected then don't get an operation which could make it worse if it goes wrong. I think that's the rationale used all over.

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Sat 17-Sep-16 08:32:56

There's probably long long waiting lists

Thatznotmyname Sat 17-Sep-16 08:33:38

Is it the GPS decision? Surely they should refer you to the surgeon?

FeckinCrutches Sat 17-Sep-16 08:37:22

You can only get referred for cataract surgery if they are at a certain level. You must not have reached that stage yet.

LIZS Sat 17-Sep-16 08:37:24

Can your optician refer you? Unfortunately nhs do prioritise based on severity but if you went on the list now it might not get to that stage. I believe it isn't an expensive op privately as you don't need a general anaesthetic or to stay in longer than a few hours.

Ginmakesitallok Sat 17-Sep-16 08:41:00

Paying your "stamp" for years doesn't mean that you suddenly become top priority for the nhs. Nhs resources are limited, therefore access to services is limited. If we want more services we have to pay for them. (Speaking as a mum who's daughter has been waiting 4 months for an op, with no date in sight)

Sirzy Sat 17-Sep-16 08:44:43

No matter what you have paid in where there still has to be criteria for what is eligible and needs treatment and what doesn't. If you want treatment when you don't meet that criteria then yes you will be expected to go private - may be worth considering why the criteria are set as they are though if it is worth spending money on it.

ABloodyDifficultWoman Sat 17-Sep-16 08:45:21

paid my stamp? Who even talks like this any more?

YABU. Wait till you fit the criteria or go private. The NHS is crumbling and nobody owes you anything.

ilovesooty Sat 17-Sep-16 08:45:45

It's not a top priority for surgery at this stage evidently.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 17-Sep-16 08:46:18

It's not the GP or the surgeon thatz. There will be local rules set regarding what degree of visual impairment qualifies for surgery. Have a look online to see what local guidelines are. Unfortunately rules in a lot of places have become much stricter for financial reasons. This is controversial because as you say it is an operation with a very high rate of success and people are having to suffer before they can access it. If cataracts become too dense I think it can actually make surgery more difficult.

Carriemac Sat 17-Sep-16 08:46:19

It's the creeping privatisation of the NHS . Support the junior doctors !

LunaLoveg00d Sat 17-Sep-16 08:48:52

My friend is an eye surgeon and does this sort of operation. Waiting lists are long and getting longer as cataracts affect more older people and we're all living longer. She often does a theatre session on a Saturday to try to cut the waiting list a bit.

NHS will put you on the list once you meet the criteria for surgery, if you're not there yet private is the only option. All this talk of "paying your stamp" is irrelevant. NHS isn't like some sort of private savings account and besides, there haven't been "stamps" for over 40 years.

Your GP has explained your options and it is now your choice what route you take.

SleepFreeZone Sat 17-Sep-16 08:50:17

You're right. My dad had his sine about 8 years ago free of charge. He now has 20/20 vision again. My mum has reached the same age and they are advising her that it is now a private procedure.

SleepFreeZone Sat 17-Sep-16 08:50:38


MoonriseKingdom Sat 17-Sep-16 08:58:38

There is a debate as to what the criteria should be though. Too early surgery and the procedure (and it's risks) may have been unnecessary. However, making referral criteria too tight may be a false economy (ie more difficult surgery). It pushes people to go private and we will head towards a two tier health service.

PacificDogwod Sat 17-Sep-16 09:03:57

Even if you were to see somebody privately, they ought to advise you whether it is the 'right' time to operate on your cataracts. They need to be 'mature' (disclaimer: I am not an ophthalmologist).
In most places, there are well established pathways to cataract surgery and tons of them are done.

If you don't trust the opinion you have been given, then ask for a second opinion. But there is most certainly such a thing as early cataract that should not be operated on.

What age are you?
And how much are your cataract affecting your sight just now?

Both my parents had their cataracts done in the last couple of years - my dad had a brilliant result, my mum had significant complications with one of her eyes - it's not an operation without risks (well, there is not such thing).

pointythings Sat 17-Sep-16 09:18:10

I had an optician referral for mine and yes, criteria are tight. I got my referral because I drive, an full time employed, had impaired night vision and had a difference in diopter between my eyes of greater than 3 points. You have to meet a lot of criteria to be referred.

It is life-changing though, I can see amazingly now and my archery scores are stellar. As PP have said going private is not that expensive either - though a private surgeon may find that you are not yet at the stage where you would really need the surgery.

user1474095534 Mon 19-Sep-16 12:13:22

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Stillunexpected Mon 19-Sep-16 12:33:17

That's an article which quotes only the director of a private laser surgery practice - he's hardly going to say that the NHS are doing a great job are they?! They are the ones benefitting from people going private. I'm afraid you're going to have to provide some more scientific, unbiased proof than this!

I expect that there are many people on the waiting list for cataract operations but the NHS is getting more and more squeezed all the time and regardless of the waiting lists, that doesn't mean that you specifically need to be on the waiting list as well! How bad is your eye sight at the moment if the GP doesn't think you qualify for the surgery?

user1474095534 Mon 19-Sep-16 12:42:14

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

IWantAnotherBaby Mon 19-Sep-16 12:46:32

Random pointless cut-and-pasting doesn't really help make your case...

SallyVating Mon 19-Sep-16 12:49:11

Claig is that you?

Lorelei76 Mon 19-Sep-16 12:54:49

write to your local MP by the way

also ask for optician referral

I've seen the test you have to "fail" to get a cataract operation when my mum had hers

I'm amazed that people are expected to get that bad before an op will be paid for.

MatildaTheCat Mon 19-Sep-16 12:59:14

Wow, your eyesight really is poor.

Ask for a second opinion? Both my parents had theirs done very successfully and only waited about 6-10 weeks so it is very much available on the nhs.

Let me give you some deadly serious advice: be wary, very wary of a private surgeon who offers you surgery when an NHS surgeon has said it is unnecessary or not the correct time to perform the operation. Private surgeons have financial incentives to do operations whereas the nhs opinion is not based on his own gain but rather the risks and benefits to you, the patient, the person who will live with the consequences.

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