Government teams up with private sector to reduce waiting list for cataract operations
Patients on the waiting list for cataract operations at Mater Dei Hospital are to have their operations performed free of charge at private hospitals under an agreement announced today by the Ministry of Health.
Some of the patients are being contacted by the authorities today.
Cataracts constitute the longest waiting list for operations at Mater Dei, with 4,752 pending operations, according to information given in parliament last month.
Today's deal was reached, on the initiative of Health Minister Joseph Cassar, with St James and St Anne's hospitals.
Dr Cassar said this agreement was in keeping with its electoral promise to keep health services free of charge and to collaborate with the private sector so that waiting lists for operations could be reduced.
The first patients to be contacted are those who have been longest on the waiting list.
Dr Cassar said the agreement follows a similar partnership last year when patients started being sent to a private hospital for PET scans.
Meanwhile, Dr Cassar said, the number of operations at Mater Dei is increasing, having reached 41,795 in the last year, an increase of 9,000 over the previous year.
He said that there was higher utilisation of the operating theatres and consultants were being asked to stay on when they reached retirement age.