Four people “go blind” waiting for NHS treatment in Cornwall

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has been placed in special measures, after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that at least four patients had suffered significant sight loss while waiting for treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Two earlier inspections in 2016 and June 2017 had already criticised the Trust’s long waiting lists, poor leadership and lapses in safety. The latest report states: “An increase in demand for the wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) clinic had not been met. This meant patients were not being reviewed within a safe timeframe. At the time of our inspection there were 1,200 patients waiting for wet AMD treatments. This delay to treatment had caused harm to at least four patients between July 2016 and May 2017 who had suffered partial loss of vision or complete blindness as a result.”

This report comes just days after the Macular Society launched a petition calling for an end avoidable sight loss caused by delays in the NHS. Chris Thorley waited nine months to hear whether he’d have access to a new treatment to save his remaining sight. He said: “Central vision loss is a horrible condition which affects people in so many ways. It’s been so stressful waiting for treatment to be approved while my sight deteriorated. There are many people across the UK like me who have suffered irreversible sight loss due to failings in the NHS.”