More Cork people travel to Belfast for cataract surgery

More Cork people travel to Belfast for cataract surgery
Bus travelling from Cork and Kerry to Kingsbridge, Belfast for cataract surgery patients. Trip organised by T.D.'s Danny Healy Rae and Michael Collins.Pic; Larry Cummins

Yet another busload of Cork people departed the South West for Belfast yesterday with people eager to undergo Cataract surgery.

More than 200 people have travelled from Cork since October 2017 to undergo the eye surgery under the Cross Border Directive.

Under the scheme, those who undergo surgery following the eight-hour journey are entitled to reimbursement from the HSE.

Independent TD for West Cork, Michael Collins, who began organising buses to Belfast in September 2017, said he regularly receives up to five calls a day or more from people seeking cataract surgery.

According to the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI), people in Cork are waiting up to five years for cataract surgery.

“I have people who’ve been waiting six or seven years for cataract surgery,” said Deputy Collins.

He has called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to immediately established a cataract treatment centre at Bantry General Hospital, which he said is ideally located to provide a dedicated centre not only for West Cork but for the many people in need of urgent treatment in the South West.

While acknowledging and welcoming the recent decision to open a dedicated cataract centre at Nenagh Hospital, Deputy Collins feels this does not go far enough.

“The government has a duty of care for those on the waiting lists and a cataract treatment centre at Bantry General Hospital is urgently needed,” he said.

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