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19 Aug 2021

New Cataract Clinical Care Standard Launched in Australia

cataract clinical care standardThe new Cataract Clinical Care Standard from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has been released, with the goal of improving patients' access to care by outlining routes for prioritising surgical and non-surgical treatment of cataracts.

Dr Elizabeth Marles, GP and former president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the commission's chief medical officer Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan, and Tracy Siggins, director of ambulatory care at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, announced the new national standard via livestream on August 17.

According to Siggins, the concepts outlined in the new national standard have already proven beneficial at the local level. ”During her 10-year tenure, the team has developed new ways to prioritise cataract patients, leading to a 79% decrease in patients awaiting assessment. The primary driver for our hospital to increase capacity and see more new patients was the development of standardised post-operative pathways. These changes have helped to remove bottlenecks and made a substantial difference to our level of patient care,” Siggins said.

Each year 250,000 Australians undergo cataract surgery, with 70% of those surgeries performed in private hospitals. Many more Australians await cataract surgery, with admission to public hospitals in areas with socioeconomic disadvantage more than double that of wealthier areas, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Prof Duggan said the new standard would help to balance this disparity in cataract care, with more efficient and equitable access to care for people in areas of socio-economic disadvantage, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

For more information goto safetyandquality.gov.au/cataract-ccs

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