MHKs have raised concerns about the time taken to treat elderly eye patients.
Health Minister David Anderson told the House of Keys the introduction of an on-island service to treat wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration was a high priority.
But he said this would require major funding and extra staff and until this was feasible, island patients would have to continue to travel across to be treated Liverpool and Aintree Hospitals. He said: ‘I am reassured our patients are receiving the very best of care.’
Howard Quayle (Middle) spoke about an octogenarian constituent who had been reduced to tears having been ‘abandoned’ at Manchester airport unable to read the signs and unwilling to ask strangers for help.
Mr Anderson said this was exactly why we were trying to deliver some services on-island. He said the number requiring treatment for ARMD has risen beyond anyone’s expectations. He admitted we had been slipping behind the targets but after Aintree put in an extra consultant, we were now hitting the UK target of 18 weeks from referral to treatment.
But Leonard Singer (Ramsey) said the Royal College of Ophthalmologists insist treatment should be within two weeks of identification. Peter Karran (Lib Van, Onchan) said: ‘If we don’t attend this issue here people go blind.’
Mr Anderson ruled out Mr Singer’s suggestion of bringing in a private team saying that risking losing the contract with the tertiary centre.