Surgery waiting lists in Birmingham to be slashed thanks to ACES

Community eye care provider ACES has won approval from Birmingham and Solihull ICB to begin treating NHS eye care patients in Birmingham through delivering vital services, including cataract surgery. 

Cataracts are cloudy patches that form on the natural lens of your eye. Over time these patches usually become bigger, causing 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 801.

Until now, NHS cataract patients in Birmingham have often suffered severe delays for treatment. Typically, patients in Greater Birmingham could wait up to 40 weeks before they are treated2. The approval of ACES marks a 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 Birmingham who have any concerns about their eyesight are encouraged to book a consultation with their optometrist or speak to their GP.

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 by reducing the risk of trips and falls. ACES expert surgeons will deliver the new NHS service from Optical Express’s state of the art treatment clinic on Corporation Street in Birmingham City Centre.

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

“This partnership has been instrumental in helping patients across the country to get the visual care they need. The backlog for NHS cataract surgery is one of the biggest challenges facing the sector, and this new contract will enable us to do even more to help reduce it. It’s crucial that anyone who is concerned about their vision speaks to an optometrist, or their GP, to be referred to ACES.”

Established in 2007, ACES has a track record of providing high-quality eye care services for NHS patients across East Anglia. ACES has been able to expand its NHS services to other parts of the UK thanks to its strategic partnership with Optical Express, formed in 2021. In addition to its new offer in Birmingham, ACES has also begun treating NHS patients in Dartford, Exeter, Manchester and Newcastle. 

[1] NHS UK, Conditions, Falls

[2] Ear and eye health :: NHS Birmingham and Solihull (