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Ophthalmologists welcome announcement of funding to clear District Health Board waiting lists

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) welcomes the Ministry of Health’s announcement of additional funding for ophthalmology services across New Zealand.

RANZCO New Zealand Branch Chair Dr Stephen Ng said that the announcement would make a huge difference to ophthalmology patients. “This is a very positive sign that the Government is taking seriously the problem of increasing demand for ophthalmology services – caused by an ageing population, increasing rates of diabetes and innovations that mean more eye conditions can be treated and more cases of blindness prevented.

“Ophthalmologists across New Zealand have been working with other eye health care professionals to deliver the most efficient and effective services possible,” Dr Ng explained. “But without additional funding it was simply impossible for District Health Boards to meet ever-increasing demand. With Government targets prioritising initial specialist appointments, this meant that follow-up appointments were being delayed, causing some people to suffer deteriorating vision, and even blindness, which could have otherwise been prevented. As ophthalmologists our first priority is our patients and we are delighted that they have this reassurance that their needs will be addressed.”

RANZCO President, Associate Professor Mark Daniell, also welcomed the announcement. “This funding will help to clear the backlog of delayed follow-up appointments and help prevent any more people going unnecessarily blind due to delays. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that backlogs are cleared as quickly as possible and that, in the longer term, the provision of eye health care services is sufficient to meet the needs of people in New Zealand.”

 

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Emma Carr or Laura Safaj at RANZCO on 02 9690 1001 and media@ranzco.edu