PATIENTS who need regular eye treatment have been struggling to nail down appointments at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.
Pamela Parker, from Bognor Regis, has glaucoma and is advised to have regular checks.
All of her appointments have been rescheduled, but this time Mrs Parker was left waiting for three weeks for another date.
“I have drops that I have to use in my eyes. The last time I went to the optician they told me to have a check up at the hospital.
“They are normally really good when they’ve cancelled them. This time, they still haven’t given me an appointment, but they did apologise. If I don’t get anything back, I might have to go to another hospital.”
Her husband, Robert Parker, said he has been ‘fobbed off’ with excuses of staff shortages.
“It is imperative they keep an eye on it,” he said. “Every single eye appointment she has had at that hospital has been changed.”
David Shannon from Bognor Regis said ophthalmic department at St Richard’s has ‘failed’ his 94-year-old mother.
“She has been receiving regular monthly treatment for her eyes for two or three years and in July an appointment was made for a scan in August,” said Mr Shannon.
“A letter cancelling the scan arrived just two days beforehand ‘due to unforseen circumstances’.”
Mr Shannon was told there were doctor and consultant shortages, and management were meeting to discuss it.
“I got the strong impression the eye department had virtually closed down.
“At 94, every day is precious and her television and library books have become important. To have to wait so long just for a scan impacts directly on the quality of her life. ”
Professor William Roche, medical director for the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, said referrals have been ‘exceptionally high’.
He said three members of ophthamology medical staff left the trust in quick succession – but were filled at the beginning of August.
“We have taken action to begin making up the lost ground,” he said.