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Cataract prioritisation tool now nationwide

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health

13 October 2016
Media Statement
Cataract prioritisation tool now nationwide

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says all potential cataract procedures are now being assessed nationwide using a prioritisation tool.

“Increasing access to specialist care remains a priority for this Government. The answer to increased demand is to do more,” says Dr Coleman.

“Cataract surgery is one of the more straightforward elective surgery procedures performed by our hospitals, but is also one where the benefits to the patient can be significant within a fairly short space of time.

“Prioritisation tools help ensure that patients with the greatest need and ability to benefit are treated as quickly as possible.

“The new online nationwide prioritisation tool for cataracts includes questions such as how the patient believes their condition is impacting on their life. The clinician refers the patient for surgery if appropriate.

“The most recent figures show that in August nearly 2,000 people across the country were assessed using the tool.

“The tool helps to provide patients and their specialist greater clarity about how the patient may benefit from treatment, as well as how quickly that treatment might occur.”

Latest figures show that 16,439 cataract procedures were provided in the 2015/16 financial year. This compares to 13,205 procedures in 2008/9, a rise of 24 per cent.

The cataract prioritisation tool was developed by a clinical working group and has been endorsed for use by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, New Zealand Branch and is supported by the New Zealand Association of Optometrists.

The tool was trialled in 2015 and DHBs were then set a deadline for implementation of June 2016.


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