An optical campaign group told Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) that over 29,000 patients have experienced waiting times of more than 16 weeks to receive specialist NHS ophthalmology treatment.

During a reception at Holyrood on June 1, The Eyes Have It (TEHI) partnership and Sight Scotland said NHS figures showed these patients made up over 50% of the entire ophthalmology waiting list. Ophthalmology was the third busiest outpatient specialty in the Scottish NHS and accounted for 10% of new outpatient appointments in Scotland, the group outlined.

Craig Spalding, CEO of Sight Scotland, said: ‘The situation has worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic which led to a dramatic fall in outpatient activity, but there is now an opportunity to improve efficiency, effectiveness and patient experience as the healthcare system looks towards COVID-19 recovery. Reducing waiting lists must be a key priority.’

TEHI is made up of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the Macular Society, Fight for Sight, the Association of Optometrists and Roche Products Ltd. The event at Holyrood was sponsored by Stuart McMillan MSP, who is convenor of the cross-part group in the Scottish parliament on visual impairment.