Saturday, 24 April 2010

the eyes do not have it

I am to have cataract surgery on my right eye on 5th May.  Most people develop cataracts with advancing age, and are usually much older than me when they get them, the surgery to fix them is quick and simple to do I am told.  Apparently there is something hereditary here - my brother had cataract surgery two years ago and he is younger than me.  Anyway, from first realising there was a problem I had to wait five weeks for an appointment with the ophthalmologist who was recommended to me, but that was because he is semi-retired and does not work full-time, I could have had an appointment with another doctor the same week.  Then I had to wait a week for a consultation with a surgeon, because he was on holiday.  The surgery is to be done on 5th May, which is eleven days after I saw the surgeon.  Even now the standard waiting time in the UK is 18 weeks.  It is to be done in a private clinic and will cost 450 euros.  But if I were in the French state social insurance system I would have had the same appointment and the same surgeon with the same waiting time, the state system just would not have covered so much of the cost.  According to the Private Healthcare UK site the cost of a cataract operation on one eye in a private clinic in the UK is between 1,600 and 2,700 pounds.

An election is coming, I hope I will not be too bloodshot to watch the UK results on 6th-7th May, and I suggest the difference between the UK and France in health provision might be something that candidates and parties could consider.  And those on waiting lists in the UK could come here and have it done for 400 quid.  Worth it if you are losing your sight, hein?


Anonymous said...

The worst bits of the op are the eye-drops, which sting a bit, and the waiting.
The op itself is absolutely painless, and just a psychedelic light show.
In my ignorance I thought that all they did was burn off the cataract with a laser, so was taken aback to be told that the actual lens was totally replaced.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the op.

Anonymous said...

Yes, very good luck. Don't start crumbling. There are others who should crumble first.

Like Vincent Moss who is now Political Editor of The Sunday Mirror.

Kate said...

Dear Jane, good luck with the op.
I had mine in november; it also runs in my family to get cataracts young. Brilliant, total success, virtually painless apart from the anaesthetic injection which was a bit unpleasant.
But I wanted to say, I had mine on the NHS and didn't have to wait an unreasonable time (a couple of months total I think). I got a choice of hospitals and went to a local private one but on the NHS - clean, quiet, single room...
So I DO think the NHS has improved a lot since the bad days of the early nineties. I thought this idea of choosing your hospital sounded stupid, but am now convinced by my own experience.
I lived in France for 10 years and experienced French healthcare - yes it is way ahead of the UK in general, although the system is overly complex, and I believe the principal of free universal healthcare on the NHS to be the best.
PS Make sure you've got a radio for the election results, your eye will be blurry for a couple of days.

jane said...

thank you Kate for this thoughtful and helpful contribution