Minister explains waiting time for cataract surgery - 29/6/2006

link to The Times

Minister explains waiting time for cataract surgery
Health Minister Louis Deguara said yesterday that although, in reply to a parliamentary question, he had said that urgent cataract operations were handled within six months, any case which involved complications was taken to theatre immediately.

Speaking in Parliament on the adjournment, Dr Deguara said there were currently 3,812 patients waiting for cataract surgery.

Over the past year 1,104 cataract operations were performed, averaging 21 a week or five per week per consultant. More could be done if the hospital had more operating theatre capacity. Surgeries were also being performed on Sundays.

The waiting list had grown so long because, whereas 15 years ago people were put on a waiting list when they could hardly see, today patients were put on a waiting list almost immediately the problem developed. If the same parameters were employed today as 15 years ago, there would be only 400 patients on the list.

Dr Deguara said that even though the new Mater Dei Hospital would be officially opened this time next year, investment in St Luke's Hospital must continue until then. Ways had to be found to discontinue the practice of the hospital working only half-days.

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