Cataract Surgeries Programme
The programme was commenced in February 2008 and has achieved the target of 10,000 cataract surgeries in 2010/11. In view of the positive response, funding has been approved to provide additional 12,000 surgeries from 2011/12.
Patients who have been on the HA clusters’ routine cataract surgery waiting lists as at July 2011 and are suitable for local anaesthesia surgeries were invited to participate in the programme, with priority to those who had waited longest on the waiting lists.
Under the programme, participating patients who choose to receive cataract surgeries performed by private ophthalmologists could receive a fixed amount of $5000 subsidy, and may need to co-pay for an amount not more than $8000 for the service package, which consists of one pre-operative assessment, the cataract surgery including intraocular lens, and two post-operative checks.
The programme has gained positive attention and support from the private healthcare sector. 107 private ophthalmologists joined CSP. Amongst a total of 67,707 eligible patients who were invited in eighteen batches, 18,439 patients had chosen to participate in the programme, and more than 13,900 of them had already completed cataract surgeries under CSP as in March 2013.
The programme was also largely supported by both patients and private ophthalmologists, as both of them expressed their affirmative views in a survey conducted by an independent market research agency and agreed that the programme could provide more choices to patients and shorten their waiting time to receive cataract surgeries.
Through telephone survey, participating patients are contacted and the surveyed result has been very positive. As in March 2013, 4,231 participating patients were randomly surveyed, 3,897 patients (92% of the surveyed patients) were satisfied with the programme while 4,139 patients (98% of the surveyed patients) agreed that CSP helped them to have surgery earlier.
CSP provides an alternative for eligible cataract patients to undertake cataract surgeries in private healthcare sector, and helps other cataract patients indirectly by shortening the waiting list and notional waiting time in HA. It also helps address the imbalance between public and private sectors in provision of healthcare services by enabling optimal use of the service capacity in private sector, as well as creating a constructive channel to flow HA patients to the private sector on a voluntary basis through the PPP delivery model
Some of the cataract patients who live alone, have mobility difficulties or other problems, may need extra assistance and support. In view of this, the free volunteer escort service has been implemented since October 2012, with hospital volunteers to accompany the participating patient to the private clinic and receive the pre-operative assessment, the cataract surgery, and post-operative checks.