As Sajid Javid announces further private sector involvement in the NHS with the Elective Recovery Plan, there are warnings from ophthalmologists that the safety of NHS patients could be put at risk if the private sector is given any more NHS work.
In the letter, signed by nearly 200 ophthalmologists and sent to NHS England and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and shared with The Independent, they warn of “the accelerating shift towards independent sector provision of cataract surgery” which is already having a “destabilising impact” on safe ophthalmology provision.
They predict that the wide scale use of private providers will “drain money away from patient care into private pockets as well as poaching staff trained in the NHS.” adding that “urgent action” is needed to prevent further work being given to the private sector.
Staff who would normally do extra hours for the NHS are now being offered better paid work doing cataract operations in the private sector, but this means other eye procedures are not being carried out for the NHS and waiting times for these will grow.
Full story in The Lowdown, 20 February 2022