Next Welsh Government must promise that no one loses their sight unnecessarily urges sight loss charity.
RNIB Cymru (Royal National Institute of Blind People) is preparing to launch its 2016 elections manifesto with calls for the next Welsh Government to ensure that no one loses their sight unnecessarily.
The charity is concerned about capacity in hospital eye clinics across the country and the high number of delayed and cancelled appointments in ophthalmology. RNIB Cymru is now urging all party manifestos to include a commitment to establish targets that ensure patients have appointments and care according to need.
RNIB Cymru believes that every eye patient has a right to access timely high quality care including cataract surgery and NICE approved treatments for degenerative eye conditions.
The manifesto launch will take place at RNIB Cymru’s Cardiff offices on 27 January 2016. Candidates from six parties will take part in a hustings event chaired by ITV Wales journalist Catrin Haf Jones.
RNIB Cymru Director Ceri Jackson said:
“No one should lose their sight because of cancelled or delayed appointments. That's why one of our manifesto priorities is to ensure that patients have access to timely appointments and treatment.
“Every day in Wales five more people begin to lose their sight. Sight is the sense we fear losing most and in the next twenty five years the number of people with sight loss will double.
“The hospital eye service is struggling to meet the demand and treat patients with conditions which require regular treatment. We want all parties to recognise that referral to treatment times in ophthalmology are not appropriate, and that a new system of monitoring and running an appointment system must be developed.
“Sight loss affects every aspect of your life, from accessing education, finding a job to catching the bus to your local supermarket. Improved outcomes in ophthalmology will lead to better health overall and make savings in other areas of the health service.
“We want this next term in the National Assembly to ensure that blind and partially sighted people have access to support and services to remain independent in all aspects of life.”
RNIB Cymru is campaigning for the next Government to recognise the challenges that remain for people in Wales with sight loss. There are many opportunities for the next Government to lead the way in the UK in eye health and equality policy.
Contact: Elin Edwards, [email protected] / 07802 867734.
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Sight Loss in Wales
An estimated 110,000 people in Wales has sight loss. Sight loss affects people of all ages but especially older people. In Wales, 1 in 5 people aged 75 and 1 in 2 aged 90 and over are living with sight loss, and the number is set to double in the next 25 years.