Department of Health written question – answered on 24th March 2015.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of variation across clinical commissioning groups in visual acuity restrictions for patients requiring cataract surgery.

Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Department has not made a specific assessment of the eligibility criteria for cataract surgery across the country. Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for the commissioning of treatment and services for people with cataracts in their local area. Where the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance does not exist, as is currently the case for cataracts, it is for commissioners to make funding decisions based on an assessment of the available evidence.

There is work underway through NHS England and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists to develop guidelines on cataract surgery, with the aim of delivering greater consistency. The guidance is still being developed and is yet to be issued.

NICE is also developing a clinical guideline on cataracts, which NICE currently expects to publish in 2017. The clinical guideline will be followed by a NICE Quality Standard.

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