"Cataract surgery"

About: Ashford Hospital

Anything else?

I have just had a cataract removed in the eye ward at Ashford Hospital. It would be helpful if the appointments could be staggered instead of just one arrival time so that one or two patients must wait up to 3 hours getting more and more nervous. It would be better if they did not run out of tranquiliser for the patients who need help, as I did. I had to wait half an hour for a supply to be obtained. Is it necessary for the surgeon who comes to you for signed agreement for the operation to go through all the possible complications when leaflets have already been issued with all the information? It is not reassuring to any already apprehensive patients. I would repeat that the longer the wait the greater the stress on an already highly nervous system.

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Responses

Response from Ashford Hospital

Dear Christina As the Sister in Charge of the Ophthalmology Department, I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and also try to address some of the points you raise. To be able to provide an efficient ophthalmology service that meets a growing demand for cataract surgery, we stagger the arrival times to three ‘slots’ throughout the day – morning, lunchtime and late afternoon. Whilst we do appreciate that waiting a long time can make patients feel anxious, the reason we ask several patients to arrive at the same time is because the pupil dilating eye drops (which all patients require prior to cataract surgery) can take longer to work in some people than others. If patients arrived ‘one by one’ we would risk losing theatre slots waiting for the drops to work and this would impact on other patients. I am sorry if this was not explained to you and I will remind our staff how important it is to keep patients well informed of any delays. It is completely natural to feel anxious at the prospect of eye surgery and we do try our best to reassure and support patients. We encourage people to bring a friend or relative along to wait with them and also to speak to the surgeon or one of the nurses about any worries. With regards to the consent process, it is very important that our surgeons make sure patients understand all of the risks and potential side effects before going ahead. That said, however, we do try to approach every patient as an individual and appreciate that some people prefer to read and digest the written information, whilst others prefer to talk things through in detail. It is certainly not our intention to frighten patients or make them feel more anxious. We very rarely use sedatives on the eye ward so, in terms of managing our pharmacy supplies, they are not something we routinely hold in stock. When required, we do need to source these medicines from other areas of the hospital and I apologise this caused you a further delay. Most of the feedback we receive about the service is very positive, so of course it is disappointing to hear that your experience was not as you would have wished. I will be discussing the points you raise with the team to see if there is anything we can further improve upon. If you would like to talk with me in more detail please call me directly on 01784 884418. Kind regards Mandy Wilson Ophthalmology Sister

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