This post includes the first of a series of letters I intend to publish, that blatantly highlight the government's reluctance - and deliberate refusal - to address the scandal of the refractive surgery industry, even though I personally (and others) have spoon-fed numerous health ministers with hard evidence for more than SEVEN years!
A brief history lesson to begin with
After my own debilitating laser eye surgery at Optimax in February 2011, left with ruined eyes, my life devastated, diagnosed with PTSD and severe clinical depression, in January 2012 I launched My Beautiful Eyes campaign for government regulation, kicked off with an online petition.
At that time I didn’t have a website, or any other social media platform, so of course it didn't get very far!
And even Patrick James Green gave me a sympathy vote, OE’s General Ops Director at the time.
Google him - he’s the short dark haired guy, not the pretty blonde whose image Patrick took from Getty stock images for his numerous fake social media sites, set up to deflect search engines away from his name mentioned on OERML… but PJG is another shocking story entirely!
By March 2012 I had the full support of John McDonnell MP, then a relatively unknown Labour backbencher, who Optical Express mocked on forums - where they regularly abused me (anonymously of course) - because John supports gay marriages, and it's a publicised fact that David Moulsdale socialises with some high profile homophobes in Scotland!
But OE stopped laughing in September 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader and John McDonnell was elevated to Shadow Chancellor.
I published Optimax Ruined My Life (ORML) website in March 2011, and Optical Express Ruined My Life (OERML) on 19 April 2012.
Unlike Russell Ambrose, who pragmatically chose not to dispute the ORML domain name, on 27 April DCM (Optical Holdings) Ltd - acronym for founder David Charles Moulsdale - complained to Nominet that the OERML domain name was an ‘Abusive Registration’.
Dauntingly complex and time consuming, I spent months working on my defence, without legal support, dependant on facts, whereas OE had a large team of people to collate and write their submissions, plus IT experts who somehow linked OERML to some extraordinary and mostly pornographic websites in China, Philippines, etc..., providing thousands of these pages to Nominet to discredit me/OERML, claiming I had done this.
I genuinely hadn’t expected to win, resigned to that outcome, not realising then how much damage OERML would cause to Optical Express, who of course did realise, because they knew how many of their damaged patients would find the site!
In 2014, DCM (Optical Holdings) Ltd challenged my domain a second time, and lost... and unsuccessfully appealed the second decision. (Search Nominet DRS decisions for details).
An insider told me that the eventual cost of Optical Express’ attempts to get OERML down exceeded £1million. That money would have been better spent helping some of their many thousands of damaged patients!
Unfortunately, as a condition of my out of court settlement agreement with Optimax owner Russell Ambrose, in the interim I had to sign over the ORML domain name to his company. And that’s how, due to the press cover and public interest it received after OE’s challenge, OERML unintentionally became the focus of my work, attracting many thousands of followers every month.
However, it should be noted that My Beautiful Eyes is the official name for both the campaign and my patient advocacy service.
And that’s History 101 over for now!
Back to April 2012 when I first wrote to government health ministers, Andrew Lansley and Simon Burns, describing what had happened to me, that I wasn’t the only one (early days when I had no idea of the sheer scale), asking for regulation…
Oh what an innocent I was, trusting that the government actually gave a damn!
Dear Ms Rodoy,
Thank you for your recent emails to Simon Burns and Andrew Lansley about the regulation of laser eye surgery. I have been asked to reply.
I was sorry to read about your experience of laser eye surgery and the health problems you have had since the surgery was performed last year. I can appreciate why the regulation of this type of surgery is of such concern to you.
As I am sure you are aware, the NHS does not routinely provide laser eye surgery or refractive lens exchange to correct refractive errors. The Department’s view is that spectacles or contact lenses can satisfactorily correct refractory errors in a safe, cost-effective way, and surgery is usually only provided in exceptional circumstances. Therefore, the majority of surgery is undertaken by private providers.
All providers of regulated activities under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and must meet the essential requirements of safety and quality. Providers of laser eye surgery are therefore required to register with CQC and must demonstrate compliance with the Act and its associated regulations.
The role of registration with CQC is central to the Government’s plans for the future delivery of health care and adult social care in England. Registration provides assurance that providers meet the essential levels of safety and quality, including requirements for providers to ensure they have suitably qualified, skilled and experienced staff. Where providers fail to comply with the registration requirements, CQC can take independent enforcement action.
Furthermore, any doctor undertaking laser eye surgery must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). All doctors must work within the principles of 'Good Medical Practice', the standards that a doctor must meet to ensure their continued registration with the GMC.
Finally, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists [RCOphth] published updated standards for laser refractive surgery in July 2011. The standards cover the appropriate experience and qualifications of surgeons performing laser refractive surgery.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health’
And that was my first experience of government bullsh*t!
This afternoon I met with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and his chief of staff Seb Corbyn, at the House of Commons...
My first meeting with John since before the general election, so much to discuss
Time productively spent, during which I provided detailed updates of recent goings on, and, after we'd covered everything on the agenda - as I'd hoped and expected he would - John offered a solution to deal with each concern.
And with the industry following my every word, I apologise for leaving you in suspense, but I'm not giving anything away at this point. John's intended actions however will hopefully yield results that I will soon be able to tell you more about.
Meanwhile, I sent a text to John last weekend with the tragic news about Hazel Jones, and this afternoon he also asked how Alejandro L. Vila had got on with his court case (John wrote a letter to support A's defence). He expressed sympathy for Alejandro's plight, and disgust at Clínica Baviera for taking such action after ruining his eyes and life.
Following the gravity of the hour long meeting, we left with laughter when I asked the BIG question that I'm sure you all would have too!
Seb promised that I'll be the first person he invites when his family move in to 10 Downing Street, and John said it was a given that I'd be visiting No 11...
Can't wait - because then we'll get government regulation of this corrupt and dangerous industry!
Daniel Poulter should also join Ben Gummer on the scrap heap - both being previous health ministers who 'postponed' numerous meetings with me, while disseminating the government's lies that there's no problem with this industry, that the GMC/CQC/RCO have it under control, and it's all hunky dory!
If you depend on the NHS for treatment - including eye tests and visits to your GP - and you can’t afford private health insurance, then I suggest you watch this video made by NHS GPs.
With the company now refusing aftercare of any kind 12 months post op, increasing numbers of Optical Express patients are discovering that the promised Lifetime Aftercare and free eye tests at time of purchase was a lie.
This is not going to change and most people have only the NHS to turn to .
I have copies of Optical Express letters, signed by Tweedledum (aka Stephen Hannan), telling damaged patients that they can either pay OE for further treatment, or go to the NHS!
Even more shocking is that Optical Express are not alone in unloading costly damaged patients onto the already overburdened NHS!
Many people mistakenly believe that Moorfields Private is part of Moorfields NHS Eye Hospital, but in fact the former is an exclusive fee paying division in a separate building where surgeons pay for private rooms. They also pay to use Moorfields NHS operating theatres.
Same surgeons are usually contracted to work a few days each week in Moorfields NHS clinics, and Mr Julian Stevens is one of these, who I first met a few years ago when accompanying one of his unhappy patients to a post op consultation.
Beth (not her real name) suffered with preoperative dry eyes, and laser surgery had left her with excruciating dry eyes and blepharitis. Julian disagreed with us both that he should never have treated her.
But instead of personally providing her with the drops she so desperately needed, Julian advised Beth to purchase a pre paid NHS prescription certificate. (£104 per year - great savings for anyone who regularly needs to pay for expensive medicines.)
It gets worse...
‘Mary’, another of Julian Steven’s unhappy patients recently contacted me.
To cut a long story short, her GP kept telling her she should go back to her treating surgeon for help, and Mary paid to do so.
At his private clinic Julian advised Mary to ask her GP to refer her to his NHS clinic!! When she told him her GP was reluctant to do this, Julian wrote to the GP himself, and Mary was duly referred to his NHS clinic at Moorfields!
The Conservative government repeatedly refused to acknowledge the scandal of this unregulated industry, and ignored the mounting costs picked up by the NHS - so how will they address evidence that private surgeons are referring damaged patients to their NHS clinics, for which they also get paid?
If you haven’t yet voted, keep in mind that if the Conservative are voted back in power then we risk losing free health care in the future!
When I recently posted 'NO MORE MS NICE GUY’ - I meant it
If the press are too scared to upset this industry and continue to pussy foot around what is one of the biggest scandals of this century - I am not!
I therefore intend to disclose previously unpublished info, including what I expect you will find to be enthralling details about my meetings with Russell Ambrose, David Moulsdale, and Daily Mail (ANL) legal teams!
But with the election tomorrow I am going to wait a few days so the info will get the attention it deserves.
Meanwhile, more of my reasons not to let Theresa May back into No 10!
I’m not ashamed to admit that until I met John McDonnell in 2012 I had no interest in politics, believing all politicians to be corrupt, so it surely didn’t make any difference who was in government.
I didn’t even know what a Shadow Cabinet was, so I am more amazed than anyone to find myself nowadays publicly voicing political opinions!
“Tory privatisation of the NHS has been condemned by Labour after new figures showed that roughly half of new cash pumped into system was spent on private sector treatment...
The public will rightly be alarmed that £900 million was spent treating patients in the private sector when our frontline services remain in desperate need of increased funding."
Just like me, many of you reading this have personal experience of what happens when private medical treatment is performed by unethical surgeons and controlled by unscrupulous psychopathic businessmen!
Having directly experienced blatant lies from FOUR Conservative government health ministers over the past FIVE years, repeating the copy’n'pasted rhetoric that the GMC/RCOphth/CQC regulate this corrupt industry, in total denial that there is any problem, avoiding even meeting with me because they then can’t pretend ignorance - I know that if Theresa May gets back in our fight is going to continue to be a long and difficult one.
But if Labour get in - we WILL get regulation far sooner!
If it helps anyone unable to make up their mind, I guarantee that David Moulsdale and Russell Ambrose will not be voting Labour tomorrow!
PS: If you are a staunch conservative, let’s not fall out over this
Why Theresa May needs to go!
01 Jun 2017 09:38 #17
Given that Tories have been in power for past 7 years and the issues regarding eye surgery have been repeatedly looked over by all their health ministers, either through ignorance or for being under pressure from the eye surgery/medical/pharmaceutical industry, we should all contact our prospective MPs and demand they pledge to take the eye surgery regulation seriously. Indeed, they would actively participate in having these matters discussed in The House and pressurise the government to take action against rogue eye surgery industry.
On 25 October 2013, Ashley B and I both wrote to Theresa Villiers asking her to contact Theresa May on our behalf, to request her permission as Home Secretary to allow Ashley's occupation as a PCSO to be disclosed when John McDonnell presented his Bill in parliament (20 November 2013) calling for regulation of refractive eye surgery.
We had both written to May directly, but were advised this had to be done via our local MP
From Ashley B (irrelevancies edited out)...
"Dear Mrs Villiers,
The reason for my letter today regards Laser Eye Surgery and it's effects on Public Services, in my case policing. This also affects airline pilots and others in roles of responsibility for human safety.
I have been actively protesting and supporting the [My Beautiful Eyes] campaign started by Sasha Rodoy which will hopefully bring legislation to companies like Optimax and Optical Express to prevent them damaging people's lives. I also have
website. I have been cleared by a sergeant to use my full name as this is my private life.
This is a request that my occupation can be mentioned. I will not do this without [your] authority as it could place my [7 yrs] employment as a Police Community Support Officer at risk.
There are many police officers who have had this procedure that I know of personally, and the following will highlight a massive issue that these companies brush under the carpet and do not explain to unsuspecting customers.
Recently a colleague at my local station received a call from a friend in desperation. The male friend in his mid twenties said that he had been stopped by traffic police who noted that he had code '01’ on his driving licence [indicating eyesight correction with glasses/contact lenses].
Asked why he was not wearing glasses the young man replied that he had laser eye surgery and did not need to wear them. The officers then checked his eyesight which was not to a satisfactory standard.
[As well as] not being able to read a car number plate at distance he was told he would be summoned to court for not driving in accordance with his driving license conditions.
The horrifying truth is that there are 1000s of people driving vehicles in the UK with the ’01' code, including police, fire, and ambulance drivers, who have had this procedure without changing the code on their license. I am sure the DVLA would be shocked if they knew the actual figures.
Another reason for my request is because my intention to apply to become a police officer [as an emergency response driver] has not been possible since I had this surgery in 2011 because of the state my eyes are in.
I believe it would be in [everyone’s] best interests that Mrs Theresa May give permission to allow my occupation to be mentioned on the 20/11/2013."
My letter was along similar lines…
"Given that Optical Express and Optimax/Ultralase control 90% of the refractive eye surgery industry it would be negligent to permit Optimax to be excluded from sharing the anticipated media spotlight with OE and surely in everyone's interests that Ashley B is permitted to highlight the fact that the same thing could - and does - happen to anyone choosing to undergo elective eye surgery.
I believe it vitally important that Ashley is allowed to tell how debilitating results of laser eye surgery negatively affected his life and destroyed his chances of furthering a career in the police force, to warn others that they face the same risks.
I launched 'My Beautiful Eyes' free advisory service more than a year ago and now help horrifying high numbers of people damaged by eye surgery from all walks of life. This includes police officers and airline pilots, some struggling to continue working, an obvious danger to those relying on them.
Others had no choice but to leave their jobs and now live on benefits - whilst the NHS care for those unable to afford further private treatment with no help from the company responsible (financial cost to the country)."
Theresa May’s response was disappointing to say the least - and short sighted considering the numbers of police officers who have since contacted me with damaged eyes!
More importantly, nearly four years later - with the government having done their utmost to avoid me, and pretend this scandal doesn’t exist - I read Mrs May's letter with fresh eyes (if only!).
Did 'PC Dan' get permission from the Home Secretary to appear on Britain’s Got Talent I wonder...
If you are undecided, or don't intend to vote next week, PLEASE support My Beautiful Eyes - vote Labour!
PS: In due course I will publish a transcript of a meeting I recorded on Saturday 17 November 2012, during which Russell Ambrose made a fascinating suggestion to Ashley that he find a way to get him through his police eye test so he could become a 999 emergency response driver - regardless of his damaged vision!
Health Minister Philip Dumb Dunne regurgitates the same bullsh*t as his predecessors Dan Poulter and Ben Dumber Gummer!
The CQC, GMC, RCO, do not/cannot help damaged patients - nor do anything to stop them being damaged! Only government regulation can help with that!
Perhaps Dunne can explain exactly how the new standards introduced by the CQC in 2015 are helping protect patients, because I can give him an ongoing list of patients operated on and damaged since then!
And how does he suppose the new RCO standards (unenforceable) will help protect patients?
While the GMC purport to 'investigate' complaint after complaint against surgeons, but ultimately close EVERY SINGLE ONE without any action taken against the surgeon, who is then free to damage more patients!
WHY does the government continue to bury its head and deny knowledge of this massive scandal - especially as it is unarguably costing the NHS money it can ill afford to provide expensive aftercare for patients damaged by high street clinics who relinquish all responsibility after 12 months!!
These same clinics then write off millions in tax when they go into administration - and that's acceptable to the government!
If you haven't yet contacted your MP to ask for their support for regulation of this industry - PLEASE PLEASE do!
And then email the response to me so it can be added to the growing pile that will be presented to the government at some point this year!