|23 May 2018 14:59 #490|
|23 May 2018 14:46 #489|
The NHS is already in crisis, and the guaranteed fallout of a union with Optical Express doesn’t bear thinking about
Bad enough that untold thousands of patients damaged by refractive surgery are already forced to rely on the NHS for aftercare, and that Optical Express have targeted NHS staff and emergency service workers with their Thanks A Million advertising scam, so I expect you’ll be as horrified as I was to be told that Optical Express are courting the NHS for contracts to treat the overflow of cataract patients!
I understand that two NHS officials visited 200 St Vincent Street earlier this year and met with OE’s Performance Director David Shirra: they looked at documents, were shown reviews (presumably not OERML therefore not fully informed), discussed the company’s Duty of Candour, and were accompanied on a guided tour of the operating facilities by Tweedledum (aka Stephen Hannan).
'Every year around 1.6 million people in this country undergo surgery at a private hospital. While many pay for it themselves, it is estimated that around half of the inpatients are funded by the NHS.
This is done to help clear waiting lists and for these patients in particular, it can seem like they’ve hit the jackpot: going private may seem like the health equivalent of flying first class or booking into a top restaurant.
Most private hospitals don't have emergency care facilities meaning that if something goes wrong, patients need to be rushed to the nearest NHS hospital.’
According to the report referred to in this article, 6,000 people need NHS care after bungled private treatment every year.
But after publication of the CHPI report I spoke with its author Colin Leys, and no stats were included for refractive eye surgery patients attending NHS hospitals, which I have no hesitation in claiming might near enough double the 6,000 figure.
And until the government investigate this scandal, and the NHS produce statistics, my claim is as valid as the industry's claimed '95% success rate'!
And I guarantee that numbers will rocket even higher if the NHS outsource cataract ops to OE!
In 2014 I published details about Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, where a private healthcare company was appointed to help clear a backlog of NHS cataract patients, but after only sixty-two of an intended four hundred operations, performed by two surgeons, thirty-one patients suffered problems, with eighty-four year old Michael Newcombe left blind in one eye.
'Both surgeons were “comfortable” with the caseload at the start of the contract, but the Trust’s investigation said that “the pressures of operating on 20 patients each day may have contributed to the possible deterioration of surgical quality and reduction of patient experience”.'
'Marked “strictly confidential”, the report reveals that Vanguard agreed to perform 20 cataract operations a day, at least six more than the hospital’s own surgeons would usually undertake.'
So NHS surgeons would expect to perform only fourteen cataract ops a day, yet a single Optical Express surgeon can routinely be expected to perform twenty-six RLE ops in one day if enough patients have been pressured into buying this unnecessary surgery!
'The NHS is now paying out for compensation claims and there is no indication that it will be able to recoup the damages paid...
Michael Newcombe later underwent successful surgery to remove the cataract in his left eye, thanks to Musgrove’s own [NHS] consultants. He has also had surgery to reduce the discomfort in the injured eye, but he remains functionally blind in that eye. Now, he is being paid “substantial” damages, running into tens of thousands of pounds, for his ordeal.
But the damages are being paid by the NHS, not the companies involved.'
‘The safety of thousands of NHS patients “outsourced” to the private sector has been called into into serious doubt by a confidential report revealing how dozens were left in severe pain by botched eye surgery carried out by private contractors.’
The NHS needs to exercise extreme caution before getting into bed with Optical Express, because otherwise they can expect to be paying out way more than they did after the Musgrove Park catastrophe!
While thousands of Optical Express patients left with problems have no choice but to rely on the NHS for aftercare, most consultants are understandably not happy about this. And I’ve seen letters to OE and other private clinics, telling them that they should be taking responsibility for their patients, not burdening the NHS with the cost.
Unfortunately some consultants voice this opinion to the patient, and one person who contacted me refused reparative NHS treatment because they were made to feel guilty.
While their objections are entirely justified, it’s the government they should be complaining to, not the damaged and fragile victims of an unregulated industry who have nowhere else to turn to but the NHS.
But this is a corrupt and incestuous industry, and finding a surgeon willing to put their head above the parapet publicly is almost as difficult as it's been for me to get this scandal publicised.*
In the meantime, as I ask time and time again, and will keep on asking - if you're receiving NHS treatment following eye surgery at Optical Express or any other private clinic, or are unemployed as a result, it’s crucial that you PLEASE PLEASE contact your MP and tell them!
Even more so if the NHS intend to hand out cataract contracts to OE!
*The reason for this was finally disclosed to me last week, and if you have a low opinion of Optical Express now, I guarantee you'll be disgusted when I tell you what they've been up to!
For legal reasons I'm unable to publish details just yet.
|23 May 2018 13:35 #488|
Last year Optical Express launched ‘Thanks A Million’ PR campaign, dangerously offering emergency service workers the chance to win free laser eye surgery, claiming to be giving away £1million of laser eye surgery to the UK’s ‘wonderful workers’
On 19 July 2017 I wrote, 'This is scary and of great concern! www.opticalexpress.co.uk/thanks-a-million
Sickening, because OE’s desperate advertising team are obviously alluding to terrorist attacks, purporting to be rewarding the emergency services involved!
Given the number of post op problems suffered by their customers, OE might as well be working with Isis/Daesh!
The targeted Emergency Service workers are integral to the UK’s health and safety infrastructure, and if damaged by OE, they will not only lose their jobs, but the country will lose their valuable skills!
I already represent clients from all these emergency services, and hope that if reading this, they will share OERML wherever possible to stop others in their profession putting their healthy eyes at risk!
Sadly ironic that so many of OE’s damaged patients are forced to rely on the NHS for aftercare and OE are now targeting these very people!’
However nauseating, 'Thanks A Million’ was a genius marketing scam, designed by PR coupling Sophie Simons and Steven Taylor, circumventing the ICO enforcement notice issued against Optical Express in December 2014, after 4,600 people had complained of being bombarded with texts inviting them to enter a competition to win free eye surgery - I was one of these people, which was unfortunate for OE as I contacted the Daily Mail!
“When a data subject gives consent they must be informed about the processing to take place, including who by and what for. In no other way can consent be said to be ‘informed’. [The words informed & consent keep popping up everywhere when talking about Optical Express!]
If the data subject doesn’t know what products might be marketed then how can he exercise his right to object?”
The ICO said it was a breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, quite simply, it's against the law to send unsolicited texts for marketing purposes without the recipient’s prior consent.
Andy Curry, the ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said, 'We have issued this enforcement notice as a warning to the company that using people’s data without their consent is not acceptable. Any breach of the notice would be a criminal offence.’
A spokesman from Optical Express said they would be lodging an appeal.
As they so often do, Optical Express lost their appeal.
The 'Thanks A Million’ promo video - launched on OE's Instagram yesterday - shows five NHS/emergency service workers who received free laser eye surgery.
With untold thousands of OE patients totally reliant on the NHS, thanks to OE’s withdrawal of aftercare beyond 12 months post op, including the rapidly escalating numbers of lens explants being carried out at Moorfields London eye hospital and elsewhere across the country, this comes at enormous cost to the NHS.
And if Optical Express gave away £1million worth of treatment then I estimate there to be 200-250 beneficiaries**, and with an estimated 30% patients (minimum) left with issues after laser eye surgery, incl the most common problems of dry eyes and glare/starbursts, then I’m guessing 60-75 of these unlucky winners will be suffering!
And of course I am sure that this clever PR campaign will allow OE to now legally spam family and friends, because the applicants were asked to provide their social media page links when they filled in the online form (now closed).
And many of the thousands who applied for free laser surgery, but were deemed unsuitable, will definitely have been unscrupulously pressured into buying unnecessary lens exchange (RLE), with a £500 discount carrot of course!
As I said in July 2017, scary and of great concern, and Isis/Daesh should be impressed: Optical Express attacking the heart of the UK emergency services without a suicide bomber!
What especially upset me about this video was the firefighter, knowing that the very real likelihood of him suffering dry eyes will be the end of his career.
I know one paramedic whose future employment is currently in the balance after RLE, and another, an anaesthetist now in his late thirties, struggling to cope in the operating theatre with chronic dry eyes - ten years after laser, and too many more wretched stories like these.
And it’s early days before Thanks A Million casualties start to google "Optical Express problems" and find OERML, because they’re still in the honeymoon period, wanting to believe OE’s tired mantra, ‘Some people take longer to heal… give it another three months, six months, a year…’
And the whammy is that those unlucky Thanks A Million winners will, without doubt, be relying on the NHS for aftercare by 2019!
IMPORTANT REMINDER: so VERY VERY important that you contact your MP and tell them if you’re having NHS treatment as a result of damaging refractive surgery, because this is the stick Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and I intend to beat the government with!
*I'm quoted in the Mail article as saying that I had no idea how OE got my phone number. Regular readers know that David Moulsdale has my personal phone number, but my vintage Nokia pictured in the article has an old PAYG SIM card, and I keep the phone for emergencies. OE did not have that number.
**I trust that Optical Express can provide the ASA/CAP with proof of their selfless benevolence!
|23 May 2018 13:19 #487|
Not just social media ’turning blind eye’, Jeremy Hunt's been doing it since I first contacted him in 2012, immediately after he replaced Andrew Lansley - who also ignored the scandal!
'Jeremy Hunt was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on 8 January 2018. He was appointed Secretary of State for Health in September 2012.’
Hunt must have something on this government because I see no other reason for this totally inept Health Secretary keeping his job for SIX years!
And I promise you, he knows all about the refractive surgery industry scandal.
PS: 'Jeremy Hunt saved nearly £100,000 in tax on his purchase of seven flats after exploiting a loophole in the Tory crackdown on buy-to-let landlords.'
|14 Apr 2018 23:13 #486|
Talking with a neighbour’s gardener yesterday, I mentioned that I’m planning to remove a strip of stony path in my garden and replace it with grass.
Good idea he said, and then suggested that I rip up all the grass and replace it with synthetic grass, because it would save time and money on maintenance!
I was quite taken aback, because I expect a gardener to be passionate about living plants, and abhor the concept of destroying vegetation.
And while some of you might like plastic grass, the only place I want to see it is lining a greengrocer’s shelves!
This gardener was wearing tinted prescription specs, and I regret not having asked him whether he would similarly consider having his natural healthy lenses removed and replacing them with plastic ones.
|30 Mar 2018 23:06 #485|
Fantastic article Sasha x