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“Increased cataract surgery good news, but!”

20 July 2006

“Increased cataract surgery good news, but!”

“The announcement that the special cataract initiative is running ahead of target is good news,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“This shows that increased funding for public hospitals provides considerable benefits for patients. But this is only one side of the coin. The cataract initiative should be one part of a much wider approach to meeting the needs of thousands of patients being denied access to public hospital treatment. Unfortunately the only other initiative as significant as cataracts is orthopaedic joint operations.”

“Cataracts are relatively uncomplicated high volume procedures. They produce good figures that make government politicians purr with excitement. Political purring appears to be the main incentive for the government’s support rather than a desire to improve access to all key public hospital services”

“If the government is genuine about treating unmet health needs then it should have a comprehensive strategy covering access to public hospital surgery, medical treatments, and chronic and other illnesses,”

“Selecting surgical procedures that produce politically satisfying data is no substitute for a comprehensive strategy to address unmet need for public hospital services,” concluded Mr Powell.


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