NHS waiting lists in Manchester to be slashed thanks to ACES

From left to right: Jasmine Mapledoram (NHS Partnership Executive), John (Patient) and Michelle Hagan (Assistant Clinic Manager)

Community eye care provider ACES has won approval from Greater Manchester ICB to begin treating NHS eye care patients in Manchester.

John, who avoided having to wait for treatment by receiving cataract surgery from ACES, described the care he received as ‘brilliant’, pointing out that everyday activities like reading and watching television have been made a lot easier thanks to the treatment.

“I am already very happy with the improvement to vision in my left eye after the procedure. I’m really excited that everyday tasks are becoming so much easier because of this. It’s the simple things – the TV is already much clearer, and going through ACES meant I escaped the months-long wait for treatment, which was a real relief.”

Cataracts are cloudy patches that form on the natural lens of your eye. Over time these patches usually become bigger, causing a range of unwanted symptoms including blurry vision and if left untreated, can eventually lead to blindness. The condition largely affects older people, and the longer they go without treatment, the greater the risk of associated mental health issues, or of suffering a serious fall, which requires urgent and costly medical care. Statistics show that 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 suffer a fall every year, rising to 1 in 2 over the age of 80[1].

In line with many areas of the UK, NHS cataract patients in Manchester have often suffered severe delays for treatment. The approval of ACES marks a positive step towards reducing the backlog for cataract surgery, meaning patients in the city won’t have to wait as long to receive care. People who live in Manchester who have any concerns about their eyesight are encouraged to book an appointment with their optometrist or speak to their GP.

ACES typically treats the cataracts of NHS patients within four weeks from their pre-assessment[2], with opportunity for patients existing to have surgery within fourteen days, 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 by reducing the risk of trips and falls.

Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at ACES, said: “This partnership has been crucial in supporting NHS patients up and down the country to get the visual care they need. Lengthy waiting lists for NHS cataract surgery represent one of the biggest problems facing the eye care sector, and we’re very proud to be helping to reduce it, benefiting those who matter most, the general public. It’s vital that anyone who is concerned about their vision speaks to their optometrist, or their GP, to be referred to ACES.”

Established in 2005, ACES has a track record of providing high-quality eye care services for NHS patients across East Anglia. Since then, ACES has been able to expand its NHS services to other parts of the UK. In addition to its new offer in Manchester, ACES has also won approval to begin treating NHS patients in many other ICB areas in England. 

[1] NHS UK, Conditions, Falls

[2] Treatment, appointment and wait time is subject to availability and dependent on patient and clinic location.