The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

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Weatherill Government must act on eye crisis

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Serious delays in appointments and a lack of appropriate treatment are putting South Australians at risk of suffering avoidable blindness.

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia has warned that people with deteriorating vision are being placed on long waiting lists to get a diagnosis, even though delays beyond a few weeks of disease onset can lead to irreversible vision loss.

Shadow Health Minister Rob Lucas today called on the Weatherill Government to act urgently to address South Australia’s ‘eye crisis’.

“The outpatient eye clinic at the Royal Adelaide Hospital is at breaking point, and there is currently a 1-2 year wait to get a routine appointment,” said Mr Lucas.

“Other metropolitan hospitals are incapable of meeting existing demand with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital having a 2 year waiting list.

“It is extremely concerning to hear claims by the Macular Disease Foundation that the current crisis has meant some patients have already suffered avoidable blindness due to the lack of proper treatment.

“The MDFA has warned the situation is “dire now but will be catastrophic if action is not taken.’

“However, the Weatherill Government’s proposed plan for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital will result in the slashing of the number of eye clinic rooms from 24 to 11, likely making the situation even worse.

“This contradicts the comments made by Minister Snelling on 6 March 2014:

‘We have made a commitment that all services currently provided at the existing RAH will be provided at the new RAH.”

(The Advertiser, 6/3/2014)

“During the election campaign the Liberal Party indicated we would consider a proposal to creating a dedicated public eye hospital at the existing Royal Adelaide Hospital site.

“The Weatherill Government must immediately detail how it will address this very serious situation.”
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