New report shows a majority of cataract surgery centres are delivering high quality care for patients in England and Wales

Posted On: 
17th July 2017

The first prospective National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) Audit report on cataract surgery in England and Wales looked at 120,722 cataract operations undertaken by English and Welsh NHS cataract surgical centres.

Cataract operations restore sight for patients, enabling them to continue living independently.
Credit: 
PA Images

The report shows that cataract surgery centres are delivering high quality care to their patients. This is one of the most frequently performed surgeries in the UK with approximately 390,000 cataract operations performed in England and 16,000 performed in Wales each year, restoring sight for patients and enabling them to retain independent living.

A total of 97,908 adult patients were reported to have had an eligible cataract procedure from participating NHS trusts and Welsh Health Board during the audit period. Participating centres’ and surgeons’ outcomes were found to be within the nationally acceptable statistical range for the audit year. Some variations in outcomes were identified, suggesting possible room for improvement. The data completeness was 100% for the Posterior Capsular Rupture (PCR) outcome though less so for the Visual Acuity Loss outcome, an area for active improvement. Overall, for both outcomes the observed rates were better than the current benchmark standards for surgical practice.

The NOD Audit is an opportunity to benchmark the quality of cataract surgery provision and is intended to help draw the attention of trusts to possible elements of cataract care which may require development. The audit does not cover all centres so we are unable to comment on the quality of surgery at centres that are yet to join.

Areas for improved data collection have been highlighted such as ensuring data completeness of pre-operative visual acuity and post-operative visual acuity outcome are improved at some centres. Improvements to data collection and validation will be facilitated over the coming year so the next output of data reporting will be more robust and further improve the quality of cataract surgery provision.

Professor John Sparrow, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Bristol Eye Hospital and Clinical Lead for the audit, commented, ‘Results from the first phase of prospectively collected data from this national audit of cataract surgery are encouraging. In most centres data completeness and accuracy appear to be good, giving confidence in the findings that the quality of service delivery overall is within expectation.

Patients, commissioners, providers and surgeons will be able to view outcomes for participating centres with results of individual consultant surgeons being made available in due course on the NHS choices website and the NOD audit website.

The audit is currently collecting data for the second prospective audit period which will run from 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017 and will include more centres in England and Wales.

Professor Sparrow continued, ‘We believe that transparency of these data will drive improvements and help patients and the public understand the risks involved in cataract surgery. Better informed patients will be more aware of the need to engage with their consultants to ensure an optimum outcome for their sight.’

The National Ophthalmology Database Audit was delivered by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes programme (NCAPOP).