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Optegra opens Newcastle NHS cataract clinic

The clinic will only treat NHS patients and aims to help reduce waiting times for cataract treatment in the North East

Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle Cutting the ribbon

Optegra has opened a new NHS cataract clinic in Newcastle to provide diagnostic testing and treatment of cataracts.

The opening of the new clinic, which will only treat NHS cataract patients, is expected to help reduce waiting times in the region. The provider explained that, with one in three adults affected by cataract and delays brought about by the pandemic, “waiting lists are at an all-time high.”

Local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) stats for the North East region show that the average wait for cataract treatment in these areas is 71.8 weeks.

The Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle was opened on 15 November in a ribbon cutting event attended by optometrists from all of the CCGs in the region, along with representatives from the Northumberland and Tyne & Wear Local Optical Committee (LOC).

Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle launch in theatre
Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Usman Mahmood introduces visitors to Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle on the opening of the new facility.

Welcoming the new cataract treatment facility, the Worshipful Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Dot Burnett, said: “As an ongoing impact from the pandemic, these waiting lists are inevitably longer than ever, and I am so pleased that local people can now access their treatment more quickly, with the support of this dedicated eye clinic, which is solely offering NHS treatment.

“This clinic will also be a great support to local optometrists and GPs to help direct their patients to quicker treatment, which will make a huge difference to their quality of life.”

The new clinic features treatment rooms and a surgical theatre with the latest technologies, as well as recovery rooms.

The hospital was designed “with the patient in mind… to create a relaxed, comfortable environment.” Treatments at the facility will be led by consultant ophthalmic surgeon, Usman Mahmood.

NHS director for Optegra, Richard Armitage, commented: “This is a wonderful opportunity for cataract patients in the North East to be able to request referral here, and as a result, not only reduce their waiting times for treatment but also enjoy the very finest of facilities and excellent medical outcomes.”

Pictured L-R: Mat Pickering, Optegra regional director; Marie Priest, Newcastle Clinic manager; Richard Armitage, Optegra NHS director.