Manx Care announces plans to reduce its Ophthalmology waiting list

Friday, 4 February 2022

Manx Care has announced its plan to reduce its waiting list for Cataract assessment and treatment on-Island. 

The organisation is working with a specialist healthcare provider, Synaptik, to offer consultations, pre-operative assessments and surgery to around 350 of the 1,300 people currently waiting for treatment, with consultations and pre-assessments taking place in February, and surgery in March. All activity will be delivered at Noble’s Hospital by specialist clinicians provided by Synaptik. 

Manx Care’s Ophthalmology team has clinically triaged its Cataract waiting list and has now contacted many of those patients who may be suitable for this treatment option to offer them an appointment with the Synaptik team. It’s important to clarify that treatment by the Synaptik team may not be clinically appropriate for every individual on the waiting list, and that this programme of activity will not replace the current activity that is being delivered at Noble’s Hospital; instead, this will supplement the existing activity being there, increasing Manx Care’s capacity to see and treat patients and thus work to reduce waiting lists more quickly.  

*There is no need for patients awaiting cataract assessment to contact Manx Care – a sudden influx of calls will prevent the Patient Information Centre team from being able to contact patients who may be suitable for this treatment option quickly.* 

Based in Scotland, Synaptik offers a range of medical services to Health Boards and Trusts to support their efforts to reduce waiting times for patients. The driving principle behind the company’s work is to ensure that any patient seen by a Consultant, Nurse or Allied Health Professional it provides has a positive and safe experience, resulting in a successful medical outcome. 

Over the last ten years the company has increased the range of services it can deliver and earned a reputation for the delivery of high-quality services. Synaptik has extensive experience in the provision of Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) services, both in the UK and offshore Island locations. Across the last four years, it has delivered 13,775 Ophthalmology operations for a number of Health Boards and Trusts. 

Manx Care’s CEO, Teresa Cope, commented:

'Expediting treatment for people waiting for cataract assessment and surgery is an important programme of work within our broader elective restoration and recovery programme, and I’m pleased that we’ve now contacted many of the patients who may be suitable for this treatment option to invite them to an appointment. Utilising the support of specialist healthcare providers to increase the capacity that we have here on the Island will help us to reduce our waiting lists faster, whilst we continue with our ongoing programme of transformation to re-shape the delivery of health and social care services on the Island. I hope patients feel reassured that reducing our waiting lists is a strategic priority for Manx Care and they will start to see activity across a number of other clinical specialists soon.' 

For information 

Neither Manx Care nor Synaptik will ask patients invited to a hospital assessment for any form of payment, or for your bank details or any other financial details, either on the phone, in a letter or via email. Your treatment will be free at the point of care.

In the event that you are contacted by anyone claiming to be from Manx Care or Synaptik requesting payment for your virtual consultation, please do not make any form of payment or provide any financial details. Instead, please report this initially to the Patient Information Centre at Noble’s Hospital (call 01624 650103). The team will then report this to the relevant authorities if this is deemed to be an attempted fraud or scam. Alternatively, you can report fraud and scam attempts to or read further advice and guidance. You should let your bank know immediately if you’ve given away your account details or sent money to a third party and are concerned about that.  

Background context   

Even before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, healthcare waiting lists on the Isle of Man were lengthy, and with no clear plan in place to focus on reducing these. This was only exacerbated further by the pandemic. When Manx Care came into existence on 01 April 2021, it made a commitment to reduce waiting lists across a number of clinical specialities. Utilising the support of a number of experienced healthcare providers to deliver a combination of both virtual consultations and treatment across some specialities will help the organisation to achieve this whilst also allowing Manx Care to transform the way that its services are delivered so that it can build a sustainable infrastructure that will future-proof the health and social care needs of the Island’s population moving forward.   

This approach is being employed across the UK, where NHS Trusts are using a number of private healthcare providers to supplement their own individual capacity following the provision of an additional £5.4 billion of funding by England’s Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, specifically to tackle waiting lists as part of its Covid-19 restoration and recovery programme. 

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