Services in three Ophthalmology sub-specialties to be temporarily unavailable to new referrals from 1 January 2017

The Ophthalmology Service at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has experienced some difficulties in managing the demand of referrals.

Following discussions between SaTH and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, a decision has been made that from 1 January 2017, the service will be unable to accept new referrals in three sub-specialty areas: Non-Specialised Ophthalmology, Adult Squint Surgery and Glaucoma.

It is expected that this temporary measure will last until the late summer/early autumn of 2017.

Carolynne Scott, Assistant Chief Operating Officer for Scheduled Care at SaTH, said: “The Ophthalmology Service at SaTH has been under considerable pressure and dealing with demand, as well as workforce pressures, for some time.

“This temporary measure has not been taken lightly, and will allow us to deal with the demand and to ensure patients already referred are seen within a reasonable timeframe.

“While these sub-specialty areas are closed, new patients will be directed to alternative providers.

“Existing patients awaiting follow-up appointments or treatments will not be affected.

“I must emphasise that this is only a temporary measure and our intention is to once again accept new referrals for these three sub-specialties in the future.

“I’d like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause people.”

Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs have worked with colleagues at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to review specific eye care services and to make sure that Shropshire patients get the best possible care.

The CCGs said: “As the Hospital Trust currently has some difficulties in managing the demand for these services, we have agreed that some elements of the eye care service should be temporarily unavailable to new referrals. 

“The CCGs have commissioned alternative providers during this time in neighbouring counties, all of which meet the high standards expected of any NHS provider. Anyone needing these services will be referred by their GP and a choice of service provider will be offered.

“We hope this will allow for the Trust to deal with the demand and then resume the three specialities later in 2017.”