MP Rob Butler visits innovative new cataract unit at SMH

Press Release: MP Rob Butler visits innovative new cataract unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Pictured left to right: Mike Adams, consultant ophthalmologist at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Rob Butler MP

Local MP, Rob Butler, met with leading eye surgeons at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to view the new dedicated cataract operating theatre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The team also explained why it is safe and important for Bucks residents to continue to come for their operations, as well as how they are tackling the cataract waiting list in Buckinghamshire, improving efficiency in a way that could be replicated nationally.

The Trust’s innovative ophthalmology team has been leading the way nationally, not only by being one of the first NHS trusts to have resumed surgery just weeks after the first government-instigated lockdown in March but by charging ahead to tackle their cataract surgery waiting list with a safe, sustainable approach throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Since resuming surgeries in May, the team have safely and successfully completed nearly 2,000 operations. Ophthalmology worked closely with the infection control team, putting in place COVID-safe measures to reduce the risk of infection for cataract patients. All patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to their operations and asked to report any symptoms post-op. So far, there has not been a single case of COVID-19 reported for the cataract procedure.

Building on the success of a pilot project in 2019, a bespoke standalone theatre has been built to enable the team to perform an additional 4,000 cataract operations over the next year, as well as offer 2,000 additional appointments to patients. The first of these operations took place mid-November 2020 with the aim, within a year, to have worked through the Trust’s current cataract surgery waiting list.

Rob Butler MP said: “I was extremely impressed by the new self-contained cataract hub at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. It is an excellent initiative to improve efficiency and cut waiting times for operations, led by outstanding surgeons Mike Adams and Sarah Maling. The cooperation between clinicians and management, to produce fantastic service for local patients in need of an operation that can make a vital difference to their everyday lives, is something that should provide inspiration for the entire NHS.”

Mike Adams, consultant ophthalmologist and joint lead for the cataract service at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We were pleased to able to show Rob Butler the new cataract theatre which will cater to his Aylesbury constituency, as well as people across the county. Our Trust is well known for delivering an excellent cataract service and has been supported by NHS England to establish a stand-alone cataract facility. We are delighted with this support and look forward to continue to care for all of our patients during these challenging times.”