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Eye patients waiting 6 months to be seen at Southend Hospital
A BACKLOG of eye appointments at Southend Hospital is forcing some patients to wait up to six months for vital check-ups.
Patients normally wait three months for appointments, but that has now doubled for some people as staff prioritise cases.
One patient, who does not want to be named, was only informed of the problem when she got in touch with the ophthalmology department.
She has received treatment for glaucoma at Southend Hospital on numerous occasions in the past year, and has been prescribed daily eye drops.
Hospital guidelines state her condition, which can cause blindness, requires three-month reviews. After hearing nothing since her last appointment in March she rang the department.
It was then she was told the backlog of appointments meant there were no consultants available to see her until at least September.
The patient, from Thundersley, said: “I’m very worried. I don’t understand how it can change from needing check-ups every three months to it being acceptable to wait for six months. It just seems ridiculous to me.
“Would they have bothered to tell me if I hadn’t rung? I know with cuts things like this can’t always be helped, but patients should be kept informed.
“If something does go wrong with my eyesight it is going to be a long time before it gets picked up.”
A final date has not yet been set for her next appointment.
A hospital spokesman said: “Recruiting permanent doctors takes some time, which has led to some routine appointments being later than we would wish.
“However, we have been working hard to ensure all appointments with an urgent clinical need are not affected.”