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RANZCO responds to the Health and Disability Commissioner review

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) welcomes the recent Health and Disability Commissioner report 'Delay in follow-up ophthalmology', which found that system failures in the Southern DHB led to unnecessary vision loss of patient Mr A. Importantly, the review recognised the impact of increased demand on ophthalmology services and the crucial role that the Ministry of Health must play, along with DHBs, to recognise “pressures on the system, and plan accordingly”.

RANZCO also welcomes comments by Health and Disability Commissioner Mr Anthony Hill that “there needs to be a very clear effective clinical prioritisation system that ensures that the right patients are being treated in the right order”.

RANZCO agrees that it is disappointing that the hospital system has been failing patients who rely on it. Patients have not been getting the appropriate timely care that they require, resulting in some patients suffering irreversible vision loss that could have been avoided.

A major contributing factor to the increased demand on ophthalmology services is the increasing demand for treatments for age-related macular degeneration. RANZCO calls upon the Government to release the report on developing a pathway on care for age-related macular degeneration that was commissioned by EY last year and to implement its key recommendations.

RANZCO NZ Branch Chair Dr Brian Kent-Smith said “RANZCO has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and we applaud the work that has been undertaken so far to support the clinical backlogs and to approve planning and prioritisation strategies going forward. However, more needs to be done to ensure that there are adequate resources available to meet the growing ophthalmic needs of the New Zealand population. A strategic approach to eye health care, which takes into account the growing demand for services and the ongoing nature of treatment, needs to be implemented to ensure that the health care system is able to treat patients in a timely manner and prevent avoidable blindness. Releasing the EY report will be a good step in enabling the DHBs to better meet clinical need and help more patients to have their sight preserved and restored.”

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