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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Eye'll" Be Seeing You!

Way back on the 27th of November I wrote about my eyes and that I was in the pipeline to have my cataracts removed. It was not too long after that appointment that I received a letter from the NHS to report to the Cataract Clinic for an assessment. This appointment was at the end of January. It's been an interesting NHS experience.

The Eye surgeon that I saw on this appointment agreed that it was time to have the cataracts removed. He then asked me where I wanted to have the surgery done. I was rather flummoxed by this question because I had not idea that I had a choice about 'where' nor did I have any idea where the 'where's' were, let alone which one to choose. So I asked, didn't they do the surgery. Oh, yes, they did and he named a hospital about 10 miles away where this surgery was done. I said I would have it done there.

After speaking to him, I was then seen by a nurse who went through details of the procedure and said I would be hearing from them with an appointment for the first operation. The second eye would be done about 6 weeks after the first. Throughout February and most of March I heard nothing. I hadn't expected the wait to be so long...

Because of the impending operations, I had told many people that I would not be able to promise to do this or that in case the hospital wanted me for the 'laser'! One day after church, a friend approached me and said she understood I was not available to work on the Art Exhibition this year. I explained to her that I couldn't make a definite commitment, but that if I could be there I would be. My friend was a former head-mistress. She looked at me sternly and said,

"Where are you having the operation?"

I told her.

A pained look crossed over her face. "You don't want to have it done there... I had mine done at Drayton House. They are wonderful." She then proceeded to parade me around the parish centre meeting all the people in the congregation that had had their eyes done at Drayton House! They all agree that the named hospital was a terrible place to go!

Not only was the hospital several miles away, but Drayton House was walking distance from where I live. So I had a good excuse when I called the Clinic to explain that I wanted them to refer me to Drayton House instead. I was astonished to learn that there were several other places where I could have this work done -- all private clinics/hospitals -- all paid by the NHS! I asked to be referred to Drayton house. This was on the 2nd of April. On the 16th of April I had an appointment at Drayton House for Monday 13th May.

I went for my appointment this past Monday and by the time I left had an appointment for my first operation on the 10th of June! The second operation should be done about two weeks later instead of the usual 6 weeks because one eye will have near perfect vision and the discrepancy  would make it very difficult with me to balance my eyes out.

There has been a lot in the news of late about the NHS farming out work to the private sector. The pros and cons of this have caused quite a debate. I don't quite understand all the ins and outs of this debate. I expect it has to do with money and with whether or not the doctors are NHS doctors getting paid as private doctors. It would seem that the private clinics around here have a much better reputation that the NHS hospital. I never got a date from the NHS when I was on their list --  over two months. Within two months of being referred to Drayton house I will have had my surgery.

As for the Art Exhibition -- I'll be working on that from the 7th-9th of June!


35 comments:

  1. One of these days I will need to have that cataract surgery done, too. So far, though, my vision can be corrected with glasses. I'll be researching the best place to have the work done, but I suspect it's different on this side of the pond. I might not get to choose where like you did. I look forward to hearing about your experience. :-)

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    1. It is so different on this side of the pond! I wish you the very best in finding the best place -- it's really hard to know how to make the best choice about where to go. In my case, I feel really lucky to have had such glowing reports from people that I've known a long time and for whom I have great respect.

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  2. In our area, although there is a choice of hospitals, they are all NHS and have the same waiting period - three months for the first eye and three months after that for the second eye. The only way to improve on the waiting time is to pay for private surgery at the cost of around £2,000 per eye.
    Good luck with your operations, it's a very straight forward, slick and quick proceedure these days.
    Which is why I can't understand why they make people wait so long to get it. The cost of the administration by the time a patient has had so many appointments at the hospital would go a long way towards actually getting the job done sooner rather than later.

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    1. This difference in waiting times is really bizarre, isn't it? You hear about 'post code' care and this is, I guess, an example. I understand that from the time I arrive at 9.00 a.m. it takes about 45 minutes and they are finished!

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  3. Gosh, aren't you lucky to have so many options, Broad! Like Jean, there is only a choice of NHS hospitals available here and private treatment would be very expensive and inconvenient to access. I had my first appointment on February 4th, was told there would be a three-month waiting list and have just had a pre-assessment appointment for June 19th with the op some weeks later. Since this would interfere with arrangements we made on the basis of a 3 month wait, we're thinking of delaying surgery until the autumn, so that we can have our planned holiday in the summer.

    I will have to put up with having unbalanced eyes, as I won't even go back on the waiting-list for the second eye until after the 5 week post-op period for the first eye. Still, I DO trust my consultant. :-)

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    1. We are really lucky here, for sure. I was astonished when the surgeon told me I would have the second op only a few weeks later. We've put ourselves rather on hold wondering when everything would get under way -- and now if all goes well I'll be done and dusted by the end of June. I really can't believe it! At the same time, though, it does make me wonder what the hell is going on...

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    2. A quick postscript to say that John has just had a phone-call from my consultant in reply to a query he sent, to say that I can have my pre-op assessment as arranged on June 19th and then fix surgery for when we get back from France. So I'm a very happy bunny - or even hare. :-)) Off now to book the ferry.....

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  5. Well good luck with it. :-) Don't understand the ins and outs of the NHS either!

    I'm going into hospital here in France on 5 June and so far the run up has been smooth and efficient. I too could choose where I had the surgery done [my hip] and the consultant asked me when would I like the op to take place. We had a leisurely discussion comparing his and my diaries! -- threw me a bit as after NHS I wasn't expecting that :-).
    Hospitals here are rated so you can check online; a bit like a medical version of 'trip advisor' LOL!

    Antoinette

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    1. I feel that we are particularly lucky here as far as cataract surgery goes -- and as far as I am concerned I have no complaints at all about the care I have received from the NHS.

      The medical service in France has also been very good for us and we are fortunate that our village has its very own GP. I didn't know hospitals were rated -- I must see what's what with our nearest hospital!

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  6. I know from living in Sweden that you have to stay on top of those NHS services. But then you have to stay on top of your American doctors too. All the best for the surgery. How great that the place received so many recommendations.

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    1. Yes, indeed, I was very pleased to hear such great things about this place -- and so far the place has lived up to all those recommendations!

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  7. Great news, and all the best. I can only hope this year will be the year for me; I hate the damn things, but the opthamologist says "not yet." I still have a vivid pictue of my mother saying "I can see" and immediately starting an embroidery piece on 20 count Aieda cloth.

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    1. I have had to wear glasses since I was 11 -- and probably needed them before that! So I am very interested to see how it turns out for me. I wonder what the criteria for your opthamologist is. Here it was the fact that I can just see to pass a driving test.

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  8. We pay in the US, but they ask you "When can you come in." Each operation took about 20 minutes. I had corrective lenses put in and can now read without glasses. Only problem is that I only need the glasses part time. I keep forgetting they are perched on my head when I need them.

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    1. I was astonished to learn that the operation put corrective lenses in -- I think things have changed a lot in the last 30 years -- since laser surgery.

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  9. I am a real fan of the NHS, and fly to defend it whenever I hear people criticising it. However, there can be no doubt that the post code lottery aspect is a real problem. I'm so pleased you have been able to sort this out. Good luck with it all. Jx

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    1. It is unfortunate that the NHS service does not seem to be dependable region to region -- sometimes even within the same town. So far we have been very lucky wherever we have been in Europe.

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  10. Glad that you have your dates sorted.

    I am also a fan of the NHS but with his job Tim has BUPA cover. I needed some Glaucoma assessments and couldn't get an NHS appointment for a couple of months - and it had already taken over 6 weeks for the hospital to contact me. I decided to use BUPA and was seen within 48 hours at a private clinic by the same consultant. This gave me a real dilemma; stick to my principles or take the earlier treatment.

    However I must say that Wolverhampton Eye Hospital, where the NHS referrals in my area are treated has a fantastic reputation.

    Good luck with the operations.

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    1. What is really infuriating about private medicine is that the doctors are NHS doctors and that you know they've been trained and paid by the NHS. They often use NHS hospitals, and patients jump over NHS patients who might be in far greater need of treatment.

      That is a very long time for a glaucoma assessment methinks...

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    2. Long NHS waiting times play into the hands of greedy consultants in my opinion.
      In our area we went through a period where things improved dramatically, due to the hard work of two ophthalmologists who turned the service around and were determined to do the right thing by the patients, but then the health authority put a stop to it because their efficiency was costing too much money.
      The health authority then also changed referral procedures so that each eye counts as another patient, so that the politicians could say the NHS was treating twice as many cataract patients!
      There is an awful lot of money wasted in the NHS on protocols and tactics, all of which comes out of the same purse as pays for our operations.

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    3. What you say is shocking, disappointing and somehow not at all surprising.

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  11. Dear Broad, health care in Britain sounds almost as confusing as here in the States. The thing here--and I feel it's almost immoral--is that so many citizens do not want to be part of the Health Care Reform that would give insurance to everyone in our society. We seem to have forgotten that we truly are our brother's and sister's keeper.

    I'm glad you finally do have a date. The operation went well for me with both eyes. I wish you every success with it. Peace.

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    1. Thanks, Dee. Glad to hear you had success with yours!

      I don't understand the US hesitation with health care reform -- though I also think there has been a lot of misinformation spread about by vested interests to ensure that the issue is confusing to people. But so many people are out on a limb and cannot afford even basic care and so many die. It's tragic...

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  12. Congrats! Sounds as though you've been set up with the best. So happy to hear. When it comes to our eyes we must see 20/20. Good luck. I'll say a prayer for you. Hugs, Barb

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    1. Thanks so much, Barb! I'll take all the prayers I can get. Hugs right back!

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  13. I;m glad this all worked out for you and this procedure can be done in a convenient manner by someone highly recommended. Take care.

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    1. Well, I've got the surgeon someone recommended to me! Thanks, Stephen.

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  14. Hiya .. so pleased you have dates and now am sure the ops will go just fine .. look after yourself .. and happy Eye'll be seeing you in the future ..

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. Looking forward to checking out your blog!

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  15. Being a person of magnificent blessings as concerns my health (which I've no doubt put some sort of curse on now by saying so) I've had very little to deal with insofar as doctors and hospitals. I'd say something pithy and/or witty regarding public vs. private, but I truly have little too little knowledge to even make a joke. So, I'll just say "Best of luck, and God bless!", and I hope you'll give as many details as possible when it happens.

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    1. By the way, I found it appropriate that the ad that popped up on the bottom of your page, when my comment posted, was for Lasik surgery :-)

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    2. Thanks for your blessings, Sully!

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  16. Sounds a lot like our Medicare system. The last reform was so extensive that nobody read he whole thing. Imagine the surprise when doctors started asking "Now according to the new Medicare reform, I have to ask you "How many guns do you own"? Now wht did that have to do with my indigestion? Saw your comment on allergies on Arleen's blog. Jody the Medicare Mom http://themedicaremom.blogspot.com.

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  17. This is interesting. I can't help feeling it is not supposed to work quite like that, but if you get better treatment and more consideration it must be good. I'm just sorry for the people who don't get to learn not to go to the NHS hospital.

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!