ABERCONWY AM Janet Finch-Saunders has made a call for a Wales wide plan to ensure health boards throughout the country can reduce waiting times for eye appointments.

She noted Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has the highest number of individuals of any Welsh health board waiting beyond clinically safe levels for an ophthalmology appointment

According to Mrs Finch-Saunders Betsi Cadwaladr health board has 11,310 waiting, while the next highest number is with Cardiff and Vale health board at 7,825.

She said: “What I have revealed in the Senedd is our health board has the highest number of individuals of any area in Wales waiting beyond clinically safe levels for an ophthalmology appointment.

“The figure is staggering, 11,310 people are waiting longer than the target for appointments.

“While Betsi is by far the worst performing health board in Wales, its trouble forms part of a depressing national picture in which 1 in 3 patients deemed to be at high risk of losing their sight are waiting longer than their target waiting time for ophthalmology appointments.

“Urgent action is need to tackle this crisis, so I have joined with my colleagues to call on the Welsh Government to implement a nationwide workforce and eye care delivery plan. Indeed, 13 people are losing their sight in Wales every day”.

A Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spokesperson said: “We are determined to reduce the number of patients waiting for a follow-up appointment, and ensure people who come under the eye care measure access the treatment they need as soon as possible.

“We are working closely with Welsh Government to reduce waiting times in North Wales. Practical measure we are taking include a new electronic patient referral system to improve the speed and efficiency of bookings, and investing in new models of care in the community to reduce waiting times.

“We are also assessing all patients listed as being at risk to ensure they are referred for the most appropriate treatment to meet their care needs.”