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Cataract surgery restrictions based on ‘arbitary’ measures

Cataract surgery is being restricted by using assessment methods that are ‘not fit for purpose' and should be based on patient's reduction in quality of life, claim top GPs.

The experts - including NHS Alliance chair Dr Mike Dixon - said GPs should not base their decisions to refer for surgery on measures such as acuity scales or the legal driving limit, and should take into account the impact on the patient's daily functioning.

Speaking at a debate on cataract surgery Dr Mike Dixon, Chair of the NHS Alliance said: ‘Cataract assessment is not fit for purpose, we've been through all sorts of assessment systems but we always have to balance objective measures.'

Dr Steve Laitner, a GP in St Alban's and associate medical director for NHS East of England who was also at the debate said: ‘They are bringing in thresholds but they should asses the quality of life not just by using the Snellen Visual Acuity Measure.'

‘Sadly commissioning is introducing arbitary thresholds that are based on the wrong level of need, its not sufficiently patient centred.'