The Macular Disease Foundation Australia welcomes SA Health’s decision to alleviate the capacity crisis at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (and Lyell McEwin and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals) public outpatient injection eye clinics.
After extensive lobbying by the Foundation on behalf of patients, their carers and families, SA Health has confirmed funding for an additional seven eye clinics per month. This means that South Australians living with wet age-related macular degeneration (primarily older Australians), and people living with other macular diseases such as diabetic eye disease, will now receive timely treatment which can help save their sight.
Julie Heraghty, CEO of Macular Disease Foundation Australia says, “Access and affordability to sight saving treatment via the SA hospital system for those with wet age related macular degeneration is critical. We must have a safety net in our public health system for those in genuine need. I am pleased Minister Snelling and SA Health have listened to community concerns.”
The Foundation embarked on an ongoing advocacy campaign in March 2014 in response to calls from concerned South Australians unable to access timely treatment for their wet age-related macular degeneration through the public health system. Some patients were waiting up to three times as long as they should for sight-saving injections.
Professor Dinesh Selva of the Royal Adelaide Hospital says the additional seven clinics will allow them to give the basic standard of care to patients. “SA Health is aware of the importance of timely treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration and the extra clinics will allow us to do this effectively. We could not have achieved this without the support and advocacy efforts of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia.”
The Foundation had urged Minister Snelling and SA Health to work closely with ophthalmologists at the Royal Adelaide Hospital to find a quick and workable outcome, enabling patients to receive the timely treatment they so urgently required.
South Australian Parliamentarians Rob Lucas (Shadow Treasurer), Stephen Wade (Shadow Minister for Health), and Kelly Vincent (Dignity for Disability Party) supported the Foundation’s advocacy in their representative roles in Parliament voicing their concerns and asking the hard questions that needed to be asked in the political arena.
While the present response provides a short term solution to the capacity issues, Macular Disease Foundation Australia will continue to monitor and advocate for a sustainable long term resolution to cater for the future needs of eye health for all South Australians.
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29 September 2014