"Cataract Surgery"

About: Ayr Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

I received a letter in January 2014 to let me know I had been placed on the waiting list for surgery. There was nothing to indicate any pre-op consultation so I called the co-ordinator to ascertain the process as I was very anxious about having the procedure under local anaesthetic and wished to request having it done under general anaesthetic.

I was told that no-one had this procedure under GA and LA was the only option. I would get a call from the nurse prior to surgery. When I got this call, I asked about GA and was told I would have to wait months as this would have to be scheduled differently.

I was reassured that the procedure was straightforward under LA and it was the best option. I therefore went ahead with this. If the co-ordinator had noted my wish, it would have been done under GA in the same timescale. The procedure was carried out successfully but for me it was a ghastly experience - demonstrated by exceedingly high blood pressure - something I do not suffer from.

All the rest of the care I received was very professional and high standard.

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Elizabeth Rose,

I am really sorry you found this such a ghastly experience. I can only imagine how it feels while someone is working on our eyes. on the plus side, I am glad you found your care to be of such a high standard. I can only pass this to the management team for them to review and take any learning from your story, we really appreciate you taking the time to share this with us.

I hope your treatment has been totally successful, I am sure it will be such a relief.

Kind regards,


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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran We are preparing to make a change

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Dear Elizabeth Rose,

I am sorry you have had an unpleasant experience and that you feel you weren’t listened to. Although the vast majority of cataract surgery is carried out under local anaesthetic, there are some cases where a general anaesthetic is indicated but this is not something that the co-ordinators would decide upon since they are administrative staff. However, your request should be made known to the consultant responsible for your care for them to discuss this with you.

General anaesthetic for any patient carries risks and there needs to be an assessment of whether general anaesthetic is appropriate for the planned surgery. Usually general anaesthetic is indicated for medical reasons such as arthritis where a patient is unable to lie flat for their surgery. In the majority of cases, where patients are anxious about having a local anaesthetic for cataract surgery, they are reassured by staff and supported through their surgery.

Occasionally, a patient will have to be converted from local to general anaesthetic due to anxiety on the day of their operation but this would mean the operation being cancelled on the planned date and re-scheduled for a future date since there are very rarely general anaesthetic cataract lists.

I will discuss this with the team to remind them that if a patient expresses this type of wish that the consultant should be made aware of it. The consultant may then contact the individual to discuss/plan for the operation.

Thank you for letting us know about this and giving us an opportunity to review this in light of your experience.

Kind regards,

Janet Shankland

Assistant General Manager

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