Hospital partnership expands access to cataract procedures

At times, the pandemic forced Ontario hospitals to severely cut back the number of elective surgeries performed in order to free up hospital beds and staff to care for COVID patients. Now, Guelph General Hospital (GGH) has partnered with Clear Vision Surgical (CVS) to significantly increase cataract surgery capacity to help shorten the wait times of the over 2,400 local people needing the surgery.

Cataract surgeries are often considered to be ‘elective’ procedures, and those types of cases were the most impacted by the surgical shut downs over the past 27 months. “The need for improved vision is anything but elective,” says Melissa Skinner, VP Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive.

Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez, GGH’s Chief of Ophthalmology agrees. “Good vision is critical to health and wellbeing and our ophthalmology team is proud to do everything we can to restore vision through improved surgery wait times for our patients.”

This partnership is considered to be an extension to the eye care program at GGH and is a model already tried and tested by Cambridge Memorial Hospital which partnered with CVS in February for the same reason.

“Partnering with CVS extends the reach of the hospital,” Skinner says. “The surgery is funded by the government and performed by the same ophthalmologists who do the surgery at GGH. The location will have to meet all our hospitals quality and patient safety standards including infection control processes. Last but not least, patients will receive the high quality of care and experience for which GGH is known.” “We are excited to help support the community of Guelph and surrounding area by partnering with Guelph General Hospital to complete cataract procedures and help reduce the wait times,” says Mark Recine, Chief Operating Officer at Clear Vision Surgical.  “The partnership with Guelph General Hospital represents our third collaboration with hospitals to help reduce cataract wait times in the community while freeing up more resources for other elective procedures to be completed.  Our first partnership with Windsor Regional then Cambridge Memorial Hospital and now Guelph General Hospital is also in line with OMA’s recommendations to utilize existing resources in communities to complete hospital cases.”