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South East Wales Health Boards Join Forces to Improve Cataract Services

Monday 13th November 2023

Three Health Boards in South East Wales are working together to address the growing need for cataract services.

Aneurin Bevan, Cardiff and Vale, and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Boards have launched a period of engagement to gather feedback from the public to help shape the future of cataract services, ensuring that all patients receive the care they deserve.

Cataracts are a condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, affecting vision.  Increased demand for essential surgery has led to growing waiting times. This regional collaboration aims to ensure sustainable future services, improve patient care, reduce waiting times, and enhance the quality of life for those affected.

Currently, there is a backlog of approximately 18,000 patients waiting for cataract services across the three health boards, with about 10,500 new referrals each year. Prolonged waiting times can lead to deteriorating vision, increased risk of falls or accidents, and social isolation. The Health Boards are keen to address this issue and ensure equal access to care for all patients.

Several factors have contributed to the challenges faced by cataract services:

  1. Patient Waiting Times and Harm: Patients waiting over a year for cataract services face deteriorating sight, impacting their daily lives and independence.
  2. Demand: The number of referrals for cataract surgery has been increasing, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Workforce: Vacancies and an aging workforce have made it challenging to recruit and retain experienced staff.
  4. Accommodation and Space: Limited clinical space and facilities for cataract assessments and surgeries pose an issue.
  5. Capacity and Efficiency: Current methods and resources may not be sufficient to meet the demand effectively.

The Health Boards are considering how cataract services should be organised in the future and are actively seeking the views of the public to inform the discussion. A 12-week engagement period has been arranged to run from 13th November 2023 to 2nd February 2024. They will conduct public information sessions, surveys, online events, and engage with various groups to gather valuable feedback.

If you're interested in learning more about the proposal, or providing your input, you can attend public engagement sessions which will be advertised on the website and social media channels of each Health Board.

People from each Health Board area are also invited to attend joint online sessions as follows:

    • Thursday 7th December 2023, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm
    • Tuesday 23rd January 2024, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Please send an email to if you would like to join an online session or share your comments.