Eye care waiting lists to be slashed thanks to ACES

Community eye care provider ACES has won approval to begin treating NHS patients in new locations across England, delivering vital services such as cataract surgery, in Birmingham, Dartford, Exeter, Manchester, Newcastle and North West London.

NHS cataract patients across the country are suffering severe delays for treatment, waiting for an average of 9 months to receive cataract surgery in NHS hospitals, increasing the risk of serious medical complications [1].

The approval of ACES marks a significant step towards reducing the backlog for cataract surgery, meaning optometrists through Patient Choice will be able to have their patients seen quicker by referring them to an ACES treatment clinic.

ACES typically treats the cataracts of NHS patients within four weeks, significantly reducing waiting times in the process. Giving patients the care they need in a timely manner helps to avoid further medical complications caused by poor eyesight, for example reducing the risk of serious injury from trips and falls, or poor mental health caused by a reduced quality of life. Statistics show that one in three adults over the age of 65 suffer a fall every year, rising to one in two over the age of 80 [2].

To support the expansion of its NHS services, ACES is recruiting optometrists to work as part of the multi-disciplinary team of clinicians in its state of the art treatment centres, kitted out with the latest optical technology in a comfortable community setting. 

ACES’ co-management partners will also benefit from its new accreditation system, which reduces unnecessary barriers and makes clinical care as accessible as possible for patients whose vision requires treatment. Each accredited co-management partner is invited to participate in the ACES CPD programme, which consists of a series of in-person and online events taking place throughout 2024. 

Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express and ACES, said:

“The expansion of ACES services represents a key breakthrough for patients in need of eye care. The cataract backlog is one of the biggest challenges facing the sector, and this move allows our world-class surgeons and clinical teams to help reduce it in new locations across England.

“Over the last few years, many optometrists around the country will have been very frustrated when their patients haven’t been able to get the treatment they need. Thanks to the expansion of ACES, they now have another, quicker option when choosing where to refer patients. 

“Care will be delivered by ophthalmic surgeons and their expert support teams in our world-class treatment centres, and thanks to these new approvals, we’ll be helping even more patients now and in the future.”

Michelle Fazzini, Commercial Director at ACES, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with ICBs across the country, as part of our ambition to meet every patient’s needs. This new partnership means optometrists throughout England will be able to help patients get the care they need more quickly by referring them to ACES. Eye care professionals who want to be part of a world-class team, helping to reduce NHS backlogs in state of the art facilities, should apply to join ACES today.”

[1] Cataract surgery waiting list guide | Practice Plus Group

[2] NHS UK, Conditions, Falls