Action urged to save eyesight

Sammy Wilson MP attended RNIB's parliamentary reception. INCT 49-653-CON
Sammy Wilson MP attended RNIB's parliamentary reception. INCT 49-653-CON

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has urged Health Minister Michelle O’Neill to address the waiting list crisis in ophthalmology.

Recently, Mr Wilson attended RNIB’s (Royal National Institute of Blind People) parliamentary reception to find out if time is running out for his constituents with conditions that can lead to sight loss.

Mr Wilson said that with over 10,000 Northern Ireland patients waiting over 18 weeks for an initial appointment with a consultant and more than 30,000 planned appointments missed because of hospital cancellations or the patient’s failure to attend, now is the time to address the provision of eye care services.

In a statement, he said: “This situation cannot continue and urgent action is required to ensure that people are not coming to harm while waiting to be seen.

“RNIB is campaigning for patients to be seen by eye clinics in the time advised by their consultant, and for patients to keep their appointments. I support RNIB’s campaign to make sure people are given timely eye clinic appointments. I will work with RNIB to ensure people in East Antrim receive their treatment on time.”

David Galloway, direct of RNIB NI, said: “Patients must be seen by their eye clinic within an appropriate time for their condition. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital in presenting avoidable sight loss. There is no doubt that the delays we are seeing will have a severe impact on patient outcomes”.

“People at risk of sight loss in Northern Ireland need the Health Minister to prioritise and resource a transformation of eye care services. ”.