Need help? Call us 0800 032 9366
NHS authorities rationing cataract operations

NHS authorities rationing cataract operations

Tuesday 09 April 2019

Research by the Medical Technology Group (MTG) has suggested that more than half of all English NHS authorities are restricting patients access to cataract surgery, withholding access to treatment until patients are nearly blind.

CCGs (clinical commissioning group) are local authorities responsible for allocating funding for surgeries and hospitals within their jurisdiction. The report highlighted that over 50% of CCGs have classified cataract surgery as having “limited clinical value”, resulting in reduced NHS resources for operations.

In over a third of cases, surgery was only authorised if patients fared particularly badly in visual acuity tests, which goes against recommendations from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Charities have hit out at the findings and warned that a delay in surgery for pensioners could have potentially disastrous consequences.

Helen Lee, the policy and campaigns manager from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), said: “Cataract removal is a crucial procedure that has a huge impact on the lives of patients and their families. We know that restrictions or delays to cataract surgery can severely impact people’s ability to lead independent lives, making them twice as likely to experience falls and significantly reducing quality of life. It’s shocking that access to this life-changing surgery is being unnecessarily restricted by so many CCGs.”

A statement from NHS Clinical Commissioners said: “CCGs are led by GPs whose first priority is always to the patient. Wherever possible they want to give them what they need. Unfortunately the NHS does not have unlimited resources and ensuring patients get the best possible care against a backdrop of spiralling demands, competing priorities and increasing financial pressures is one of the biggest issues CCGs face."


NHS & Cataracts.


Sight News

◄ Blog Home

Subscribe to our email newsletter and claim your FREE copy of our popular guide '9 Top Tips to Save Your Sight'


  • Lynn MacGrath
    16 Apr 2019

    It’s mostly old people who need cataract operations. If you are young, you can get such things as IVF, smoking cessation, prep drugs, methadone, gender transitioning, etc etc. But a person like me, not yet 70 and already being treated for glaucoma, may not be able to get my cataracts removed. I don’t know quite what to say, really. It beggars language.

  • tony penso
    17 Apr 2019

    Come to South African ..I had both eyes done last year." I can see clearly now " (feel like breaking into song )....also a big thank you to Serious Readers. Your light is shining brightly on the tip of Africa

Post a comment…