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High-volume cataract service included within £160m plan to ease hospital wait lists

The funding boost aims to develop a blueprint for the post-pandemic recovery of elective surgery within the NHS

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Pixabay/Paul Diaconu

The NHS is launching a £160 million initiative to ease the waiting lists that have formed for elective surgery during the pandemic.

A high-volume cataract service will be included within the funding boost, which aims to develop a blueprint for the recovery of elective surgery post-pandemic.

The plan will also include 3D eye scanners, at-home antibiotic kits, one stop testing facilities, greater access to specialist advice for GPs and pop-up clinics so patients can be seen and discharged closer to home.

The initiatives will be implemented within 12 areas and five specialist children’s hospitals.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief operating officer, said the funding boost would go towards new approaches to tackling waiting lists.

“The additional support announced today will help us create a blueprint for continuing that progress over summer and beyond, in a way that doesn’t heap extra pressure on staff, so that as many people as possible benefit from the world-class care the NHS provides,” Pritchard said.

Provisional data from NHS England shows that in December 2020 there were 23,000 patients who had been waiting more than a year for ophthalmology treatment. In the same month the year before, only 40 patients had been waiting for that length of time.