Research published today shows the true cost of cataract surgery waiting times, with analysis suggesting reducing waiting times would result in estimated public health system cost savings of $6.6 million due to a reduction in the number of avoidable falls.
Published in Public Health Research & Practice, a journal of the Sax Institute, the analysis has found that if the wait for surgery was capped at three months, over a three-year period it would result in 50,679 fewer falls, which can have devastating and even fatal consequences for older people
Even before the additional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, waiting times for cataract surgery in the public health system were as long as two and a half years in some parts of Australia, but cutting waits to just three months would significantly reduce the number of avoidable falls.
Commissioned by Vision 2020 Australia and undertaken by a number of members, the research calls for greater investment in public cataract services, which could include the establishment of high-volume surgery services to increase capacity, as well as standardising referral and triage processes, fast-tracking of referrals when necessary, and prioritising surgery for Indigenous patients to reduce health inequities.
Red more about the research here: https://www.vision2020australia.org.au/resources/public-cataract-surgery/