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10 March 2022

Tribute paid in Dail to community optometrists

The profession ‘played a key role in responding to pandemic health needs,' Minister Donnelly said.

During COVID-19 optometrists "have been responsive to the challenges presented and have developed guidelines and procedures to safely deliver patient care," the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has said. "I recognise that optometrists have played an important role." Waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted in the last year, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The HSE last year recommended that only critical time-dependent elective procedures would be undertaken, due to the on-going and significant increased demand for bed capacity related to Covid-19. This decision was made to ensure patient safety.

Minister Donnelly said he "values the important role community optometrists play in our Health Service in the delivery of holistic patient care." Speaking on February 1, he said: "In particular, I fully acknowledge that community optometrists have played a key role in responding to the health needs of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic."

The national ophthalmology outpatient waiting list in January, totalled 38,995. The number waiting more than 18 months was 12,379. The child Ophthalmology Waiting List amounted to 5,786 (the number waiting more than 18 months was 2,275). This compared to an overall total on the ophthalmology outpatient waiting list of 47,075, a year earlier.

On January 27 this year, the adult outpatient waiting list at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital totalled 15,297 and 6,894 were waiting more than 18 months. The number of children on that hospital's outpatient waiting list at the end of January totalled 987 and 445 were waiting more than 18 months, little changed over January 2021.

Ophthalmology services are provided throughout all hospital groups in the country.


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