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Home Lifestyle Are you choosing healthcare that’s right for you?

Are you choosing healthcare that’s right for you?

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd

Are you choosing healthcare that’s right for you?

New research shows lack of understanding around Patient Choice 

18 March 2024… New research reveals that 59 per cent of British adults aged over 55 do not feel they have choice in their NHS treatment, and one in five (21 per cent) would not question the treatment proposed by their medical professional. 

According to the new research released today from specialist eye hospital group, Optegra Eye Health Care, there is some confusion around the NHS Patient Choice scheme.  

Nearly a third (31 per cent) have never heard of Patient Choice. Yet it is clearly in demand – 91 per cent of adults questioned believe that they should have a choice when it comes to their treatment. 

Generational factors are also apparent from the research, with a quarter (25 per cent) of over 76-year-olds stating that they respect medical professionals so much they do not question their treatment offer.  This is despite the fact that 62 per cent of this age group say having choice in their NHS treatments is important to them. 

Mr Javad Moayedi, NHS Medical Director and consultant ophthalmic surgeon for Optegra, says: “Our new research shows that increased awareness is needed around a patient’s right to choose how, when and where they receive their healthcare treatment. 

“Within cataract surgery, for example, only 14 per cent of adults over 55 realise they can be treated within 4-6 weeks of referral.  It is their right to ask for different providers in order to achieve this.” 

Whilst NHS Patient Choice is already offering options to those waiting to access healthcare services, just 16 per cent of the over 55s surveyed have been offered choice in their treatment, while 63 per cent stated they have never been offered any choice. 

The www.optegra.com research further reveals that some are confused about what patient choice actually means: 

  • 62 per cent of Brits over 55 years believe patient choice means choice of location for treatment;
  • A third (33 per cent) believe it is choice of actual treatment;
  • And 18 per cent think it means accessing NHS treatment in a private hospital setting;
  • More than one in five adults over 55 years (21 per cent) stated that they do not know what patient choice means.

When it comes to making a choice about their healthcare, the most important factor for 72 per cent of British adults aged over 55, is how long they have to wait for treatment, with 29 per cent willing to travel further for treatment if it means it will be quicker. 

Other important factors stated by patients with regards to their healthcare include: 

  • Quality of outcome (60 per cent)
  • Standard of follow-up care (39 per cent)
  • How far they must travel for treatment (33 per cent)

Anne Yeadon from York, was recently diagnosed with cataracts. She explains:  

“My optician told me I needed cataract surgery and would refer me to my local NHS hospital. She said I’d be hearing from them, but it could be a while because of the long waiting list.  No mention was made of another treatment option. 

“A month or so later I received a call from the hospital to say I was on their waiting list and it could be several months before I could be treated. I asked if there were any other options, and then they mentioned an Optegra clinic in Bradford. I wasn’t familiar with Optegra at that point and, as I no longer drive, was reluctant to travel out of York. I stayed on the hospital waiting list. 

“A few weeks later, chatting with a friend, they told me they’d had their cataract surgery at a ‘place called Optegra’ and it was ‘great’! I did a little more exploring and discovered a new Optegra clinic was opening in York. Feeling reassured I contacted the hospital and changed my referral to Optegra. 

“It was the best decision! Within two weeks I was invited for a consultation and pre-op tests. Then within a week my first cataract surgery was done, followed by a second successful cataract surgery two months later. 

“I just wish anyone seeking cataract surgery could be told about treatment options at the same time they learn the optician’s diagnosis.  Early treatment with improved safety and increased quality of life can make a huge difference.”  

Mr Moayedi concludes: “Providing a choice for those facing a healthcare decision is clearly important, whether that’s distance to travel for an appointment, requesting a specific consultant or stating a preference for where you go for your treatment. 

“Private providers, such as Optegra, have been supporting the NHS to provide increased access to eyecare treatments and therefore increase the element of choice for patients across the country. 

“We have 12 hospitals and clinics so far, with a number more to open this year, dedicated to offering NHS cataract surgery. It means access to free treatment within four-six weeks. We also offer NHS treatment for Age-related Macular Degeneration at some of our hospitals.”

Optegra Eye Health Care is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services. Established in 2007, with its first hospital opening in 2008, it has completed over one million eye procedures from its 31 eye hospitals and over 60 locations across the UK, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. 

Optegra brings together leading-edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment.  It performs more than 140,000 treatments annually, both private and publicly funded. Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes and great patient service.