“The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) welcomes the current debate about healthcare funding in New Zealand. With an aging population, increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, and ongoing innovation in healthcare, it is essential that we continue to discuss how people’s healthcare needs can best be addressed. In terms of eye health care, we need to examine both the funding and the efficiency of effective eye care to ensure that there is adequate supply to meet increasing demand. With this in mind, RANZCO is keen to work with all interested parties to ensure that everyone in New Zealand has access to the ophthalmic care they need, when they need it.
The issue of injections of Avastin into the eye, which is used to treat a number of conditions including macular degeneration, is of particular interest. This is a relatively new and innovative procedure that enables us to save the sight of people who, in the past, would have inevitably gone blind. With this comes increased demand for services and it is important that we examine how services are delivered to ensure that we can meet that demand. This is why RANZCO has promoted an allied health model of care in which specially trained ophthalmic nurses, under the supervision of an ophthalmologist, undertake these injections. It is important to note that these injections are not now, nor have they ever been, delivered in a primary care setting. Rather, they are delivered in eye clinics by specially trained nurses and ophthalmologists.”
Dr Brian Kent-Smith, Chair, RANZCO New Zealand Branch