How much lower can Optical Express sink - playing Battleship with patients' eyes
David Shirra, Performance Director at Optical Express since August 2016, 'Responsible for business performance and group operations, reporting to the Chief Executive & Chairman.’
'From: David Shirra
Sent: 02 February 2018 09:03
Subject: Welcome to Refractive Battleships!
Good morning team,
Welcome to today’s refractive incentive- Thinkers & Lead Time Battleships!
Let us buy your coffee & lunch for the week, or even a Friday treat in today’s incentive. For every thinker OR every booking with a lead time of 14 days or less, a grid reference is yours!
Remember, by INSPIRING your patients with our unparalleled technology, exceptional patient outcomes and the current thinker incentive offers, every clinic should be delivering a strong return thinker performance today. If you are unsure of the current FIXED PRICE OFFERS, speak with your regional manager for clarity. Remember, the surgery support team are on hand to find you a surgeon discussion r treatment slot WHEREVER required.
The secret is to plan your day effectively to utilise diary gaps for trying, and sensitively retrying patients until you make connection!
Please see the slides below with details of how you can WIN in today’s incentive. To enter please complete the following template and reply to all in this email.
SRO NAME & GRID REFERENCE-
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Optical Express Ruined My Life Forum
29 Jan 2018 21:41 #92
So I found this forum after finding out I don't have Lifetime Guarantee on my eyes!
Surgery Dec 2009 - I've not found the paperwork yet. I'm guessing I signed the paperwork a month or two before. Having moved countries twice since then, I'm going to have to have a real hunt to find the contract.
I'm currently having the following issues (any recommendations or advice appreciated!):
- intermittent blurry vision - one hour it's perfect, the next it is awful
- terrible night vision
- dry eyes
I'd wanted laser treatment for a while, had a consultation on 4th Dec with OE.
They quoted me £5700, which was too much. They called almost daily since but I ignored the calls until 28th Dec when they offered 24 months interest free and reduced price of £3995.
I was about to pay my £400 deposit when I found your website, after spending the several hours researching your work - i'm so grateful to you! I had no idea!!
My mum had also planned to have lens replacement treatment with Optical Express within the next few weeks, at a cost of £6,600. Thankfully she has now also decided to cancel due to your work. Although she had paid a deposit, she's requested a refund - I'll keep you updated with how this goes.
Thank you so much for all you do, my mum and I may well owe our healthy eyes to you. I will continue to follow your work and help in anyway I can. xx
'Professor Leys’ report urges that the NHS mopping up after the private sector must come to an end, for there to be any hope of improving private care...
NHS emergency departments are already overstretched and private hospitals need to have robust risk management plans to ensure that safeguards are in place with adequate aftercare...
Where a patient is admitted to the NHS due to the fault of private healthcare, the private sector should be expected to pay for the costs incurred by NHS emergency departments for that patient’s treatment. Otherwise patients will continue to be perilously dumped back into the NHS — and we the taxpayers will have to pay the costs.’
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and I have been making this same point for years, one the government continue to turn their blind eyes to [sic].
I was introduced to Colin Leys in early December, when I told him about the shockingly high number of damaged eye surgery patients left dependent on the NHS, statistics that were not included in his report.
Not least because, as Moorfields (Private & NHS) surgeon Bruce Allan so obligingly admitted to me via email in November 2016,
'We do not have accurate contemporary figures for the numbers of refractive surgery procedures performed in the UK', and therefore unarguably no record of the numbers damaged!
However, I am confident that when this scandal is finally exposed - and it will be - the numbers of damaged patients annually receiving NHS treatment, no matter to what extent, will prove to double the numbers reported by Professor Leys.
And as long as this industry remains unregulated, the numbers will increase year on year!
Colin Leys and I also discussed the abuse of the NHS by its employed consultants. I told him that I have evidence of private refractive clinics located on NHS premises using NHS paid employees to treat private patients during NHS clinic time, while surgeons and staff at Moorfields in London contact their private practice patients from NHS email addresses!
Last year I asked Moorfields' Medical Director Declan Flanagan about a related incident, and he replied,
In my opinion therefore, privately employed 'Mr Blank' is not entitled to use @Moorfields.nhs.uk email address, and nor should the surgeons when working out of their private practice.
I also told Colin Leys about Moorfields surgeons like Julian Stevens, who damage patients at their private practices in the Arthur Steele Unit, and then arrange for the patients to be referred to their Moorfields NHS clinics across the road.
Summer 2017, I accompanied a damaged patient in litigation to his medicolegal appointment with an ‘expert’ ophthalmologist (paid in excess of £2,000 by Optical Express) who conducted a half hour consultation with the patient in the midst of his NHS clinic.
When I asked, the optom who tested the patient’s eyes before he saw the expert, and spent more than half an hour with him, confirmed that she was employed and paid by the NHS!
Meanwhile, many OERML followers may remember reading about the Musgrove Park Hospital NHS cataract surgery scandal, also mentioned in the Mail article...
'The operations were done in 2014 by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, which had been appointed by the trust to help clear a backlog of 400 patients. Vanguard then sub-contracted part of the contract to another company, The Practice, which then sub-contracted to Kestrel Ophthalmics.
Half of those operated on, 31 patients, suffered problems — a complication rate ten times the normal figure; NHS staff raised the alarm and the operations at the hospital were terminated after only four days.
In 2016 Health Minister Ben Gummer*
told Parliament that so far, ten compensation claims for these patients have been received. Two have been settled, at a total cost of nearly £90,000 — one of those was Michael Newcombe, 84, who was left blind in one eye after the surgery.
The money has come from the NHS, with no indication that it will be able to recoup the damages from the private company.'
*Just like his predecessors and successor, Ben Gummer did his utmost to avoid meeting with me during his term as health minister, and in 2015 responded to questions in parliament, from MPs Richard Harrington and John McDonnell, with lies and regurgitated bullsh*t!
I repeat, if you haven't yet contacted your local MP, PLEASE PLEASE do so
Historic bullsh*t from the corrupt industry offering excuses for the problems suffered by tens of thousands worldwide after refractive surgery!
Heaven £$ forbid that they will ever admit that this surgery is simply NOT SAFE
The many 1000s people who’ve contacted me since 2012 with dry eyes post op would not agree - not forgetting that my own serious dry eye problems were NOT present pre lasek surgery, contrary to the info altered on my clinic notes post complaint!
The spurious claim that dry eye will clear up in the majority of patients after 12 months is not supported by ophthalmologist Jonathan Carr, who now sits in Dr Jan Venter’s vacated hot seat in the Optical Express Complex cases clinic. (Dimitris Kazakos also did a stint there, presumably removed from the seat due to his general unpleasantness towards damaged patients.)
One patient wrote to me,
‘Jonathan Carr told me dry eyes are now a chronic condition with no cure at 6+ months post op. He said there’s nothing to be done except for using lubricating drops so my eyes don't dry out...
He has recommended against enhancement surgery to correct my vision although I am nowhere near close to 20:20 vision [admitted by OE in writing] plus I have ghosting in my left eye which can not be corrected with a pair of spectacles...
I am very distressed as it’s been 1 year now and my condition has not improved.’
‘My doctor said if I've got dry eye then usually that isn't curable - I will have to use drops for the rest of my life. But OE led me to believe that it would eventually go back to normal if I kept using the drops.’
'Based on an extensive review of CQC inspection reports of 177 private hospitals in England, this report provides evidence which identifies the characteristics of the private hospital business model which make it susceptible to exploitation by ill-meaning or incompetent surgeons.
[And psychopathic businessmen!]
The refusal by private hospital companies to accept full responsibility for what happens in their facilities means that patients will always be at risk. Or, put another way, there can be no guarantee of patient safety in private hospitals without full liability.
Further, the regulatory regime which covers private hospitals does nothing to address this central weakness and has in most cases ignored or overlooked the extent to which patients have been put at risk.
The report makes five recommendations to reform the private hospital model in order to make them truly safe for patients and to avoid a repetition of the Ian Paterson case.'
'40. The extent to which the private sector relies on the NHS to treat patients with post-operative complications is neither safe nor cost efficient for the taxpayer. A more effective way of protecting patients and removing a significant government subsidy to the private hospital industry is to require private hospitals to put in place the necessary critical care facilities to look after patients when things go wrong.’
The refractive industry urgently needs regulating, and the CHPI report underlines some of the reasons why I continue to beg you to PLEASE PLEASE contact your MP!
Tell them what's going on, the damage to your eyes, refused aftercare by Optical Express (or any other provider), forced to rely on the NHS, etc…
Or in many cases, advised by the private surgeon who damaged your eyes to ask your GP to refer you to his NHS clinic - as I witnessed Moorfields surgeon Julian Stevens tell one of his patients to do!
This morning I received emails from two lucky people who found me BEFORE going ahead with surgery!
I always prioritise emails asking for my advice pre surgery, because although I can’t do anything to repair damaged eyes, I can help stop these people from risking theirs too.
The first person I spoke with was a woman aged 47, due to make her payment for lasik with Optical Express surgeon Erik De Koning.
She asked if I had any information about the Dutch doctor, and I told her what I know, but added that the inherent problems lie with the Optical Express company itself, no matter who the surgeon might be.
My opinion immediately supported when she told me that she was offered lens exchange surgery at her ‘free’ consultation, even though she has healthy natural lenses and is too young!
Nor was she invited to meet Erik De Koning but was to be consulted in a phone call.
Would any one of you even consider letting a nurse book you in for a hospital operation without having first been examined by a surgeon? Of course not!
And if you did agree to this, would you then be content to have a telephone consultation with a surgeon who has agreed to operate on you without ever having met you? Of course not!
Pity my post op sight is not as perfect as my hindsight...
The second person had written, 'I was already wary of using Optical Express as they have already phoned me multiple times a day and I haven't even had the appointment yet so I can imagine it'll be aggressive sales tactics and harassment after the appointment…
Sasha, did you have your surgery with Optimax but are now campaigning against Optical Express? If Optimax are at fault, why is the website not called Optimax ruined my Life? I assume then you do not recommend laser eye surgery in general rather than just with Optimax and/or Optical Express?'
I answered her question as best I could without breaching the terms of my Settlement Agreement with Optimax, and gave just a few of the reasons why I categorically do not recommend laser eye surgery - or lens exchange - for any reason other than it being necessary to prevent blindness.
I advised her to look at my OERML videos on YouTube to learn more, especially 'Can you go BLIND after laser eye surgery…'!
Happily both of the above told me that they intended to stick with their specs
The third person I spoke with had recently suffered a detached retina following ‘enhancement’ laser surgery five months previously. OE had washed their hands of him and told him to go to the NHS emergency dept.
This is a particularly disturbing story, but I can't give you more details just yet. Needless to say, this person underwent an emergency operation to save his sight in one eye, at yet more cost to the NHS!
The industry claim that corneal ectasia and retinal detachment are rare complications after surgery. Amazing then that I have been contacted by so many people who have suffered both - and they're just the ones who found OERML!
I generally advise damaged patients to ask their GP for a referral to an NHS eye specialist. But I also warn that some GPs are reluctant to do so, telling their patient that because they paid for private surgery why should the burden fall on the NHS to fix it!
I totally agree, but who else can we turn to when the private companies responsible refuse to provide aftercare, and even when they do it’s mostly not worth having!
For seven months I pushed Moorfields MD, Declan Flanagan, to disclose the cost of a lens explant. Having promised me in January that he would find out, he then ignored my calls and repeated emails asking for this info.
It should of course be considered that Declan Flanagan is a member of the RCOphth, and I would make a wild guess that you don't get to be Moorfield's MD without their support!
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell then sent an email to Declan on 25 July asking if he now had the figures available, and on 19 August he finally replied:
'As an indication of cost, Moorfields Eye Hospital received on average £963 income for a cataract extraction and IOL insertion in 2016/17. This would therefore be the income we receive for removal and replacement of an IOL.’
This of course does not include the associated extensive tests and numerous consultations.
Sooner or later the government has to stop turning a blind eye and address this scandal, not least because of the massively increasing costs to the NHS and benefits paid to people no longer able to work!
That is why I keep begging you, if you haven't yet contacted your MP - PLEASE PLEASE do so!
And for the record, your GP MUST refer you to an NHS specialist, regardless of where you were treated.
admin wrote: This morning my postman told me that he’d watched Rip Off Britain on iPlayer, as I’d recommended, but asked why wasn’t I in it?
A question only the BBC can answer, and they won’t, not honestly that is
As he was walking away my postie sheepishly told me that by the way his brother-in-law is having eye surgery next month - at Optical Express!!
He said he didn't want to say anything to his brother-in-law because he didn't want to worry him! And holding his forefinger and thumb fractionally apart to indicate how small, he told me that there’s only a slight chance of problems.
Not quite speechless, but wanting to smash my head against the nearest wall in utter frustration and disbelief, I told him that’s not true…
But hey, my postie watched Rip Off Britain, so who am I to argue with Julia Somerville and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists!
He was already on his way down the road, with me barefoot on the pavement, so I couldn’t follow to continue the conversation. I called after him and said that at the very least to PLEASE tell his brother-in-law to look at OERML, and that I’d help him get his deposit back if necessary.
The obvious question is of course, if his brother-in-law goes ahead and suffers problems, what will my postie say to him?!
Yesterday I saw my postie, and no prizes for guessing what he told me
After surgery two weeks ago, not only does his brother-in-law have an infection in his eyes, but his distance and intermediate vision have also deteriorated!
Optical Express have of course told him, ’Give it time.’!
I heard on the radio that DVLA now want eye tests made compulsory every THREE years to be legal to drive!! Can you imagine all of us that have had surgery.. I doubt many, if ANY, would pass an eye test for driving!!!!