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New regional centres for cataracts and varicose veins


On 23 October, the Department of Health announced it is creating new regional centres for routine day cataract surgery and treatment of varicose veins.

It is expected that the development of prototype elective care centres will have a significant impact on the number of patients treated.  For cataracts, this could mean up to 2,000 additional treatments annually and for varicose veins, this could mean up to 500 more treatments. This means productivity increases of up to 30% in both cases.

With this improvement in productivity, combined with additional waiting list activity currently ongoing to stabilise waiting times, it is the Department’s expectation that, for patients who have been assessed as requiring treatment for cataracts and varicose veins:

The prototypes for varicose veins will be based at Lagan Valley Hospital and Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex; and those for cataracts will operate from three locations – Mid-Ulster Hospital, Downe Hospital, and South Tyrone Hospital. The prototypes will serve patients from across Northern Ireland and are planned to be in place from December 2018 with all sites operational early in the New Year. These prototypes will help inform the development of regional day case elective care centres for all appropriate specialties.

Valerie Watts, Chief Executive, HSCB said: “This is an important step forward in transforming care throughout Northern Ireland. Patients are going to benefit from shorter waiting times and because the Centres will be operating on sites away from urgent and emergency hospital care there will be fewer cancellations of operations.  The Health and Social Care Board now look forward to working closely with the prototype project teams and Trusts to develop detailed plans for implementation”.

To find out more please watch the animation or read the Department’s press release.