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Letter from Stephen Hannan 06 Jul 2014 06:15 #281

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Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 03 Jul 2014 17:15 #282

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NHS Referrals 03 Jul 2014 16:51 #283

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NHS Referrals 03 Jul 2014 16:30 #284

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Regardless of the results, if anyone has been referred to Optical Express by the NHS (GP or hospital) I would appreciate it if you would please contact me:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 03 Jul 2014 12:34 #285

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Optical Express state on their website: "We are the leading provider of cataract operations in the UK outside of the NHS". Is this really the case?

They are also displaying the NHS logo on their website. Are they now NHS approved?


Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 22 Jun 2014 08:47 #286

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Well thank you all so much! I had an eye appointment yesterday at OE.

My history: I initially had lasik in 2006 but my sight regressed (I was sooo short-sighted and had already read that that was a possibility! I had it done again 2 years ago. Unfortunately, I still needed glasses with a very low prescription, but each time I went back, they had not stabilised.

Yesterday, I was examined and told I had early signs of cataracts (age 58) and that further lasik would not help and I should be looking at lens replacement procedures. Obviously, after my experiences, I decided to do some research - is lens replacement the new "cash cow"?

After reading everyone's accounts, I will definitely get a second opinion and talk to my doctor about the way forward! Thank you to everyone here and good luck!

NHS screw up! 19 Jun 2014 15:17 #287

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Last month an NHS hospital in Somerset hired Vanguard Healthcare to perform 400 cataract operations on their backlog of patients.

Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital gave Vanguard a £320,000 contract for 400 operations.

NB: That's £800 per eye compared to the NHS tariff of £709 per eye!

However, after only four days, 30 of the 60 patients treated in Vanguard's mobile operating theatres complained of problems.

The contract was cancelled and an investigation is now underway.

On 28 May I asked both Musgrove Park Hospital and Vanguard Press Officers if they intended to release the names of the surgeons concerned.

Hired by Vanguard, public relations company Montpelier PR emailed the following statement to me:

"We can confirm that Vanguard were asked by the trust to help them solve a problem clearing a backlog of cataract patients, and that we are cooperating fully with them to assist with investigating the likely cause(s) of the higher rate of known complications than expected. We have with the hospital conveyed to the patients our concern and sympathy for the discomfort or distress they have experienced. These procedures were carried out in Vanguard’s operating theatre, using highly qualified surgeons with many years’ experience of working in the NHS and who were vetted by the trust. Vanguards core business is the provision of clinically equivalent operating theatre facilities, and no other services of the kind deployed in this case are currently in operation.

Musgrove Park's Medical Director, Dr Colin Close, sent out this press statement:

We still don’t know exactly what the cause is – we’re trying to identify that at the moment. There could be a range of causes… There’s a possibility a small number might need surgery in the future – where these patients are identified, we will follow them up long-term to provide care and treatment as required.”

He also said they don’t yet know whether the faults were down to human error or mechanical or chemical reasons.

Two days ago I called Montpelier PR for an update, who suggested I speak with Claire Ward-Willis, Musgrove Park Hospital’s Communications Manager.

Clare was not happy to be asked the additional questions I put to her - even less so when she realised I intended to publish this info and insisted I put my questions in writing for the attention of Dr Close, which I did:

1. Who were the surgeons
2. How many surgeons operated on the 30 Px who suffered problems, one or more?
3. Who recruited them
4. Did MH vet them, if so who was responsible for this
5. How many employed by the NHS and/or in private practice
6. Do any operate out of Optical Express or any other high street refractive clinic
7. How many Px scheduled per day
8. Why was Vanguard paid £800 per eye - more than the NHS tariff of £709 per op
9. Beside blurred vision, what other complications have Px experienced
10. Have any Px instigated compensation claims as yet
11. Were Px told their ops were being out sourced
12. Will the results of the investigation be made public
13. Will MH consider contracting Vanguard again for ANY procedures

Two days later I received this reply:

"Dear Sasha,

Many thanks for your enquiry.

Due to the ongoing nature of our investigations in to this matter we are unable to comment further than our initial statement at this time.

Kind regards

Claire Ward-Willis
Communications Manager
Musgrove Park Hospital (part of Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust)

Knowing as much as I do about the countless RLE complications following surgery at OE, I believe the cause of the problems will be human error. Unfortunately I also believe we may never be told the truth - but I won’t give up asking!

I am particularly interested in the outcome as Dr Close commented that Musgrove Park Hospital could possibly be hit by a wave of compensation claims, saying:

"Any financial responsibility would rest with us. If any patients wish to pursue compensation, we would work with them."

If only Optical Express would similarly accept responsibility for the thousands they leave with problems!


Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 18 Jun 2014 06:47 #288

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Does anyone else always have a feeling there is something like a coin pressing in there eyes at all time, especially at bedtime?

If so have they been able to address it anyway?

This is 2 years post surgery - so it is an unpleasant thought that most of my waking hours will be spent thinking about my eyes!

I have of course got floaters, unusual shaped halos around lights, and poor vision detail like everyone else who has had this done, but I haven't seen anyone raising the above problem.

The Refractive Lens Exchange Debate 17 Jun 2014 18:53 #289

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That sums me up to a tee, never thought I'd wish I could wear glasses again

The Refractive Lens Exchange Debate 15 Jun 2014 08:09 #290

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"Patient demand for refractive lens exchange is on the rise, but physicians are divided over which patients are right for the procedure and whether the risks are worth taking.

It’s an increasingly common scenario: A middle-aged woman with minimal refractive error visits her ophthalmologist. She’s annoyed by the fact that she needs reading glasses and she’s determined to get rid of them. She’s been surfing the Web, reading about accommodative and pseudoaccommodative IOLs, and arrives armed with articles. She hates wearing glasses. She cannot (or will not) tolerate monovision contact lenses. She has no sign of cataracts, but she is “desperate to do something,” and she wants to talk about refractive lens exchange procedures.

What do you tell such a person when she visits your office? For James J. Salz, MD, the answer is obvious: No way. “Regardless of the extent of the patient consent she signed, there is not a chance I could defend in court performing intraocular surgery simply to get rid of a $10 pair of reading glasses.”"
By Lori Baker Schena