Patients with vision impairment or debilitating eye conditions such as cataracts will be major beneficiaries of a new ophthalmology blitz, delivering on the Queensland Government’s election promise to revitalise frontline services.
Premier Campbell Newman said the program would clear the long wait list of patients by 30 June, 2015, improving the quality of life for more than 11,000 Queenslanders.
“There have been chronic problems for many years with a growing waiting list of patients needing better access to eye care and we are fixing it by injecting new money to clear the waiting list,” Mr Newman said.
“We have already cleared the waiting list for cochlear implants which has improved the quality of life for thousands of families and many more people will now benefit.
“This opens a whole new area of engagement in our campaign for better frontline health services across the State.
“The Queensland Government has reversed the bloated administrative burden imposed by Labor with a strong plan which will create a brighter future based on increased health resources.”
Mr Newman said the ophthalmology blitz would build on the success of local boards with local control which have been able to significantly reduce the massive surgery waiting lists inherited from Labor.
“In June this year, 19,028 Queenslanders were waiting for an initial ophthalmology outpatient appointment. Of those, more than 11,000 waited longer than was clinically recommended,” he said.
“Labor left that legacy and had no plan to fix it, but we have a strong plan that will clear the long-wait list in less than 12 months.”
Mr Springborg said the blitz would provide an initial consultation with possible surgery and/or an ongoing treatment plan.
“There are few things more precious to people than their sight and we are determined to give Queenslanders the health care they deserve,” Mr Springborg said.
“The Government will request proposals from service providers for ophthalmic patients to receive an initial ophthalmic outpatient consultation with a contracted provider, and all required surgical procedures will be completed and non-surgical treatment will be commenced.
“In addition, the Government is working to develop long-term strategies to ensure the sustainability of public ophthalmic service delivery.”
Mr Springborg said the Government’s request for proposals would be open to suitably-qualified providers regardless of location, but with a preference for local service delivery.
“Local Hospital and Health Services will not be disadvantaged financially and will retain current funding for the delivery of healthcare in line with their service agreement,” he said.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure Queenslanders have appropriate access to better ophthalmology services.”