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Minister says eye treatment targets don't help patients

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has told his officials to investigate allegations that management in two health boards are prioritising lower risk eyesight patients because they are easier to treat.

Credit: PA

A report from Health Inspectorate Wales said they didn't know if the allegations were true but the suggestion was that people at greater risk of going blind were losing out as managers concentrated on meeting treatment targets. The minister was answering an urgent question in the Senedd from Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Will you be investigating this attempt to game the targets, will you take action against managers who are found to have done this, and will you review the targets with clinicians and patients to ensure a more robust system designed to prevent sight loss?

– Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth AM

Vaughan Gething replied that the Royal National Institute for the Blind and NHS clinicians were looking at the way the targets were affecting treatment and that they would report to him in the next few months.

There is a powerful case that our current referral to treatment targets in this area do not promote the best interests of patients and help to support the service to make sure that clinical need is the priority.

– Health Secretary Vaughan Gething AM

He said he had already told the health boards on several occasions that patients should be seen in order of clinical need.