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Wait Times for Cataract Surgery Decreasing in the MidWest

Paddy McMahon, ULH
Paddy McMahon, Ballinacurra, Limerick: "I was so appreciative of the service I received in Nenagh that I felt I had to write a letter of appreciation."

Patients Share Experiences at UL Hospitals Group Perioperative Directorate Conference 2019

Over 100 Attend Limerick Event with National and International Speakers

Wait times for cataract operations have significantly reduced for patients across the MidWest since the opening of the UL Hospitals Ophthalmology Centre at Nenagh Hospital last year, conference delegates have been told.

Under a nationally funded initiative, Nenagh Hospital has become a centre for cataract surgery. Since the opening of a stand-alone, high-volume, consultant-led theatre in Nenagh in July 2018, the total number of patients waiting for a procedure has reduced from 647 to 315; the number of patients waiting longer than 12 months has decreased from 134 to 21; and the average wait time for patients on the inpatient/day case waiting list has reduced to four months - and continues to fall.

The results were shared at the second annual UL Hospitals Group Perioperative Directorate Conference, hosted at the CERC Building at UHL on Saturday, October 19th and which attracted some 130 attendees.

Delegates heard that just over 200 patients had been treated for cataracts in Nenagh from July-December 2018. And it is projected that 1,400 patients will have had a procedure by the end of this year. Nenagh Hospital is currently providing two post-operative cataract outpatient clinics per week.

Paddy McMahon, from Ballinacurra in Limerick, was one of the patients to have the day procedure carried out in Nenagh in August 2019 and he said he was delighted to share his story at the conference through a patient video.

“I have to admit I was impressed the minute I walked in the door, I got a friendly greeting and was directed to the waiting area. I was struck by the cleanliness of the hospital. That impressed me and it impressed my wife as well. We were taken to the admissions office and dealt with expeditiously,” said Mr McMahon.

“The operation itself went very well and I was discharged on the same day, having spent some time in recovery. I was so appreciative of the service I received in Nenagh that I felt I had to write a letter of appreciation. I did not find one fault about the whole experience from the moment I entered the hospital to the time I was collected to go home,” he added.

Speaking at the conference, Dr Paul Stanciu, registrar, ophthalmology, and clinical nurse managers Noreen Kelly Ryan and Siobhan McLoughney explained that having made significant progress on the cataract waiting list in the region, UL Hospitals Group was now ready to make a national contribution in reducing wait times for a procedure that can radically transform the quality of life for older patients.

Cathrina Ryan, Operational Director of Nursing, Nenagh Hospital, commented: “The cataract service in Nenagh is a great example of how a funded model of service delivery can be successful and really make a difference in a short timeframe. Feedback from patients is the real proof and we receive this on a weekly basis through many phone calls and letters . The patient story told at the conference this weekend was very complimentary of the patient journey through the service and outlined the joy patients feel when sight is restored.”

The UL Hospitals Cataract Theatre at Nenagh Hospital is a good example of the innovation being shown by staff in the Perioperative Directorate at UL Hospitals Group. The conference showcases the various research and innovation projects being taken by staff across UL Hospitals in improving care for patients preparing for, undergoing or recovering from surgery, with a particular emphasis on the work of the nursing profession. As well as the various surgical sub-specialties, the conference highlighted best practice and innovation in anaesthetics and in critical care.

Keynote international speakers included Ainna Fawcett-Henesy, international consultant, and Paul Vaughan, Head of Nursing Now England, NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Speaking on this year’s programme, Declan McNamara, Director of Nursing, Perioperative Directorate, UL Hospitals Group, and Conference Lead, said: “The Ever-Evolving PeriOperative Journey conference has highlighted the constant improvement in how we deliver frontline services. The cataract service in Nenagh has received national support and will continue to provide a first-class service to the MidWest and further afield. Behind these policy decisions are positive stories about real people. Our emphasis at the conference has been on improving the patient journey and we were delighted to be able to share patient stories so they could talk about their journeys in their own words.”