Patients visiting the Croft Shifa Health Centre, which was recently accredited as an Any Qualified Provider (AQP) for cataract surgery, laser treatment and eye lid, eye socket and eye ball operations, can now use the NHS’ Choose and Book referral service to take advantage of shorter waiting lists and avoid having to travel to hospital for these treatments.
The health centre is part of the Care UK run Rochdale NHS Ophthalmology CATS (Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service), which the independent health and social care organisation has been operating since 2008.
Betty Templin, an 81-year old from Marland, was one of the first cataract surgery patients at the health centre on Belfield Road. Her referral there meant she was treated within a few days and enjoyed a shorter journey compared to travelling to the ophthalmology clinic at the Birch Hill Hospital.
She explained: “The Croft Shifa Health Centre is only a couple of miles away from my home and after speaking with my GP I was given an appointment for my first operation to take place later that week. My left eye was operated on the first day cataract surgery was available there and four weeks later I returned for treatment on my right eye.
“During both visits I was looked after very well. Everybody I met was so friendly and supportive – a nurse even sat down with me afterwards for a cup of tea and to check I was feeling well and had somebody to take me home.
“For each operation I was at the health centre for around only two hours. The difference they have made to my eyesight is unbelievable – colours are so much more vibrant and watching the television is easier too.
“I was pleasantly surprised because having this surgery was no more inconvenient than visiting the dentist. Both operations were very successful and I would recommend the Croft Shifa Health Centre to anybody who is having cataract surgery.”
Ericka Ashworth, Service Manager at the Rochdale NHS Ophthalmology CATS, is responsible for all aspects of patient care. She said: “Care UK is at the forefront of community-based healthcare and we believe this is the first service of its kind to offer this procedure to NHS patients.
“Providing people with access to specialist healthcare professionals without visiting a hospital is the future for local anaesthetic routine surgery. In addition to being cost-effective, the extended opening hours during the week and at weekends mean it’s a convenient choice for people with busy lives or those who live close to one of our clinics.”
Over 40,000 people from Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton have used the Rochdale NHS Ophthalmology CATS, which in 2011 was recognised for its excellent customer service and improving the ophthalmic minor operation experience of patients.
Ericka added: “Our dedicated team includes four surgeons with different expertise, who see their patients from initial appointment through to surgery and aftercare. Our service is streamlined from start to finish; patients are often impressed at how quickly they’re seen, treated and the quality of care provided.”
Care UK runs four other CATS facilities across the UK in Dagenham, Manchester, North Hykeham and High Wycombe. They provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment for a number of specialities, including dermatology, ear, nose and throat, general surgery, gynaecology, musculoskeletal, neurology and urology. For further information visit the Care UK website.