However, it doesn’t matter who’s in power as this is a cross party issue, and I wouldn’t have got as far as I have without John McDonnell working with me. His recent appointment as Shadow Chancellor has caused a number of people who previously tried to ignore me to sit up and pay attention!
After a recent meeting with my own MP - Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland - she has now confirmed her support for my campaign.
If we can organise BED in Ireland then I’ll come over for a few days and perhaps we can also stage a demo outside one of OE’s stores.
Well done to the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO) for leading the way with their recently updated 'Refractive Surgery' guidelines, and making compliance a prerequisite for the privilege of membership, after a period of "bedding down".
However, 'Joe Public' is gullible and doesn't know any better. No OE surgeons operating in Ireland are members of the ICO, although David Teenan is a member of the Ireland Medical Council (IMC) according to his OE profile.
OE surgeons are members of the UK Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth)) and patients can be forgiven for thinking that this should make them credible, undertaking surgery in the best interests of their patients. However they operate on patients within a system where the assessment for suitability for surgery (and ongoing after care) is undertaken by optometrists who are paid a bonus for each patient they pass as being suitable.
Optometrists have a code of practice that they must follow and should not be put in this position, or agree to incentivised pay, as this is unethical and conflicting with their clinical role.
The RCOphth 'STANDARDS FOR LASER REFRACTIVE SURGERY 2003' was last updated in 2011, and an update to include intraocular lens surgery is long overdue.
Lets hope tthe RCOphth follow Ireland's example soon.
I wouldn't have thought of looking at it before, you just trust that this type of surgery is safe. Even when friends said to me "Is it safe" I said "Yes, they wouldn't be allowed to carry it out if it wasn't!"
More fool me!!
The Irish College should be making sure everyone is made aware of the dangers!!
After publishing details on OERML Facebook, I called Kathy Evans, Chief Executive at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, suggesting they should introduce similar guidelines as a condition of RCOphth membership.
Kathy was unaware of the new ICO guidelines so I forwarded the PDF to her. We spoke again last week when Kathy pointed out that this condition, mentioned in the Irish Times, was not actually included in the ICO guidelines.
I then contacted Ciara Keenan, Communications Manager at the ICO, and asked her, could I quote as fact that members who do not adhere to the guidelines will be refused membership?
I also asked, how do the new guidelines help when Optical Express surgeons, who are not members of ICO, operate in Ireland?
"The ICO formulated the guidelines to help assist people in making an informed decision and to promote awareness and education around the appropriate standards as set by the College. The guidelines promote greater transparency and provide the public access to information on what to expect during the process, from decision making to the post-operative care standard recommended by the ICO for patients undergoing refractive surgery. It will also inform practices for clinic managers and owners.
While the ICO is not the regulator, this is the role of the Medical Council in Ireland and any patient who has a complaint should go to the IMC, we do have a responsibility to patients and the specialty to promote high standards. After an appropriate bedding down phase, we do envisage making endorsement of the guidelines a requirement of on-going membership for existing members and endorsement of the guidelines and code of conduct are a requirement for all new members.We have no control over practice of those who are not members of the ICO but we feel that as the training body, the standards we set will be influential in the wider health community.
We see the guidelines as having educational value for clinicians, facilities and patients - even for those who are considering having procedures done by non-College members.The guidelines are the next step in ensuring high standards of patient safety and an aspect of continuing medical education and professional development."
The IMC is the Irish equivalent of the GMC, and no doubt just as useless! (Shocking info re GMC coming soon)
While I am of course pleased that the ICO have listened to OERML, and the damaged patients who’ve contacted them, I am concerned that none of the surgeons listed on the Irish Optical Express site are members of the ICO, and will only follow David Moulsdale's guidelines:
I also doubt that many people read College guidelines before undergoing surgery, they understandably trust the surgeon will do them no harm
Hi, I haven't had any further surgery to attempt to fix my damaged eyes, I just can't go through with any more having been zapped twice previously. Not sure my eyes can actually take much more as they constantly ache.
Recorded conversations between OE Customer Care Manager David Mungall and damaged patient Ian D clearly illustrate how Optical Express silence people with gagging orders.
Suffering severe night glare as a result of lasik eye surgery, Ian D contacted me for help last December. Prof Dr Jan Venter advised there was nothing more that could be done to improve his poor vision, and told Ian to ask Optical Express for a full refund and night glasses.
Unfortunately Ian hadn't recorded their meeting, but - as I pointed out, David Mungall didn't know that!
NB: Ian D has signed a gagging order and is now unable to discuss details of his case. See his original post below dated 16 Dec 2013.