I attended yet another NHS appointment at my local eye hospital. After a quick chat with the optometrist she asked about my previous history, I said don’t ever go to Optical Express, she replied if you see what I see working here you’d never go anywhere like that. I asked if she was aware of other OE damaged patients, “many” she said.
I was then seen by two very experienced eye consultants and their conclusion was they were aware of my poor vision and said I had ”been left with an inferior visual system” but as I have had so much surgery to try and correct the original, there was nothing left to do, apart from further surgery with too high risk that they were unable to offer.
This is a real time problem and the data is obviously there, let’s hope the government start collecting it, processing it and acting quickly. Every day that passes means more people are being damaged, this is not like smoking where it took years for the damage to become apparent.
I put most else aside today to answer as many emails as I could from damaged patients asking for my help.
This has been exhausting and left me feeling angry
I usually temper my anger by toying with the industry's main players, knowing that my campaign is tormenting them!
I have always said I didn’t know how I’d cope when the truth was finally exposed, and sure enough, after all the press this week, I am swamped with people asking for my help - and it’s still early days!
With this scandal at last unfolding, and the numbers with problems as high as I predicted, it is more horrifying than I expected - and the vast numbers of laser victims are yet to surface when the press and media move on from RLE.
John McDonnell and I warned the government so many times that this would happen if they continued to turn a blind eye [sic], and here we are!
Our meeting with the Health Minister is now re-scheduled for 4 February.
Before then, lawyers are working with us to provide a realistic estimation of numbers of expected litigants, and costs of medical treatment we expect the government (tax payers) will eventually have to pay for.
Money is usually the motivator - unfortunately for the industry, it was never mine
This is good news for My Beautiful Eyes Campaign as the recommendations for strict regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry must surely highlight the fact that the eye surgery industry deserves equal regulation - at the very least!
We're talking about EYES, one of our most precious senses!
The time is fast approaching when Keogh's concerns with Botox etc.. will take second place to the seriousness of the damage being done to people's eyes.
That's a promise"
One year and four months on and nothing has changed. In that time how many more thousands of people have had their eyes damaged because of lack of government regulation?
John McDonnell MP met with Health Minister Daniel Poulter in May - I was not allowed to attend as a 'civilian' due to ministerial 'protocol'. What nonsense!
Empty promises were made...
Dr Poulter has finally agreed to meet with me later this month, so let's hope the fallout from the Observer's front page story today will shame the government into action - especialy with a general election on the horizon
Yesterday, John McDonnell received a letter from the Minister of Health, finally agreeing to meet with me in January
It's only taken a year or two to arrange this meeting, and I expect Dan Poulter will be looking forward to it as much as he would a vasectomy!
I will be asking for hard copies of people's personal accounts of their problems following eye surgery (laser and RLE), so far ignored by the government, which I will be hand delivering to the Minister in bulk.
Monday afternoon: John McDonnell and I met with Dept of Health officials at Whitehall.
Our discussions lasted for almost an hour and we covered as much ground as we could within a relatively short space of time.
It started with talk about the plans for the Royal College of Surgeons to certify and “credentialise” cosmetic surgeons, specific to cosmetic surgery, specific to type of surgery, beginning in March 2015... blah blah…
I told them that this had little to do with eye surgery, and by that time thousands more will have had their eyes damaged!
John said, in the meantime, whilst waiting for certification and credentialising process, we want interim action.
More blah blah...
After 15 mins of this, in absolute exasperation, I said: “This is bullish*t!"
I pointed out the exorbitant costs to the NHS, cleaning up after the high street - some people left blind and needing emergency surgery to save their sight, all provided by the NHS!
I explained that surgeons are under pressure, working for businessmen who don’t care what happens to the patients.
As Joanna McGraw admitted in Stephanie’s court case, she sees patients only 3 to 4 minutes before major eye surgery, operating on a staggering 22 patients a per day - minimum!
I explained the target based salaries, commissions for surgeons as well as optometrists and sales staff... the heavy pressure sales tactics, optoms unethically selling procedures to unsuitable candidates.
I gave them a copy of the Patient Advisor Flow and promised to send copies of documents itemising bonus commission payments, provided by OE whistle blowers.
NB: The next day I spoke with the General Optical Council and hope to have a meeting confirmed next week to discuss the major part optometrists are playing in this scandal.
I detailed how RLE is being sold as an option to laser eye surgery, to people without cataracts. I mentioned Musgrove Park Hospital and emphasised that these problems happen on a daily basis at Optical Express.
I said “bullsh*t” a few more times, stressing again that eye surgery is NOT cosmetic surgery, and promised to forward some of the endless horror stories I receive.
I reminded them of the millions it is costing in benefit payments alone, to people who are left unable to work after debilitating surgery.
As I told you I would, with the help of a torch, I gave a practical demonstration of starbursts, explaining why the DVLA should be involved too!
Advertising was discussed… I said that celebrity endorsement must stop - how many people had laser eye surgery because Mel B did?
John pointed out that the marketing is gathering pace, and said an interim report is urgently needed. He was told this would be up to the Ministers and they would discuss it at their next meeting.
John asked when they were meeting with the Minister?
"Sometime this month", they replied.
I interrupted and asked: "How long did it take for dodgy breast implants to be taken off the market?". No-one could tell me.
I said I recalled that it was only a matter of weeks, yet people will continue to have their eyes irreparably damaged while we are expected to wait until the end of 2015/16 for further reports!
I advised that enforcement is urgently needed for the surgeon to personally meet with the patient at least a week before surgery, that pre-op consultations should not be left to an optometrist.
I pointed out the massive tax losses with OE et al regularly putting stores into administration - and the government allows it!
I mentioned Lord Jack McConnell’s lobbying on behalf of Optical Express, corruption within the government… trust me, I didn’t hold anything back!
I said I am angry - for me, and for every one of the tens of thousands of people damaged by this industry, while the Ministers are ’too busy” to meet with me.
Although pleased with the general tone of the meeting, I now await the outcome.
I have finally been promised a meeting with the Health Minister, but said that I also expect to meet with Jeremy Hunt - before the General Election!
As John said after the meeting, our 'good cop, bad cop' routine worked well - guess who played 'bad cop'
6 May 2014:
John McDonnell MP and Professor Harminder Dua (then President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists) met with Health Minister Daniel Poulter.
Submitted to the Minister’s office in advance, John had included my name on the list of people accompanying him. It had taken months to arrange a date to suit us all, but at the eleventh hour John was informed by Poulter’s office that, due to “protocol”, I could not attend.
At the meeting John urged Dr Poulter to meet with me, following which we both wrote asking him to do so.
NB: Promises made to John and Harminder have not been actioned!
Dr Poulter replied to my email sent on 16 May: “Firstly, may I say that I am familiar with your good work in raising awareness of, and highlighting the issues and risks associated with, refractive eye surgery. Your website ‘My Beautiful Eyes’ provides a platform for people to air their concerns, obtain advice and gain support.”
No it doesn’t, and I react badly to being patronised!
“I appreciate that you are disappointed at not attending the meeting. However, this meeting was held at the request of John McDonnell MP, whom you may wish to approach about our discussions.”
My request to meet with him went unanswered - and my verbal response is unprintable!
Dr Poulter wrote to John: “Due to heavy pressures in my diary, it is not feasible for me to meet with Sasha Rodoy at this time. However, she may wish to meet with my officials to discuss her personal experience and her good work in raising awareness of, and highlighting the issues and risks associated with, refractive eye surgery.”
I emailed both named officials and copied in John and his PA, Seb Corbyn.
No response. I resent same email.
Approx a week later:
Still no reply, and with the Summer Recess approaching I called the offices of both officials and left messages for each - one of whom I was told was away for a few weeks.
Tired of waiting I told John that I was writing to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt. I did so but received no reply.
John McDonnell tabled parliamentary Questions, asking Jeremy Hunt if he had received correspondence from Sasha Rodoy, and if so, did he intend to respond to me.
He received no reply.
I received this message: "Dear Ms Rodoy,
Thank you for your further correspondence of 29 August to Jeremy Hunt about laser eye surgery. I have been asked to reply.
I note your ongoing concerns about this matter. However, due to diary commitments, the Secretary of State is unable to meet with you.
You may wish to discuss your concerns with Department of Health officials, who are happy to meet with you, as suggested by Dr Dan Poulter following his meeting with John McDonnell MP.
For further discussion, you may wish to contact Dawn O’Neill at (edited)
I hope this reply is helpful.
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health”
I told John McDonnell I considered this to be “bullsh*t”, but played the game and wrote to Dawn O'Neill: "In response to my letter sent to the Secretary of State on 29 August, Richard Tromans writes that Jeremy Hunt is too busy to meet with me.
In his letter dated 30 June 2014, Daniel Poulter advised John McDonnell that he too was unable to meet with me, suggesting I should contact Noel Griffin and Tim Baxter.
Accordingly, I emailed both parties at least twice, left messages with their offices, yet to date have received no acknowledgment from either. Please see details below. (I attached copies of my emails sent to Noel and Tim on 3rd, 5th & 7 July.)
Meanwhile, whilst the government continue to be “too busy” to discuss the very serious issues concerning the refractive eye surgery industry and the lack of government intervention, Stephanie Holloway is one of estimated tens of thousands damaged by Optical Express et al, many far worse:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2771023/Optical-Express-pay-500-000-damages-laser-surgery-wrecked-young-woman-s-life-spied-prove-lying.html
I am being interviewed for BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates, @ 11.00am on Sunday 5 October, when I will highlight the government’s lack of interest in this serious matter and their refusal to meet with me.
I am writing to you simply to show that I have taken all steps advised, even though they lead nowhere.”
I received auto reply from Dawn: "I am at an all day meeting on Tuesday 30 September My emails are not being monitored. I will respond when I return on Wednesday."
At 2.00pm I pre recorded an interview with Adrian Goldberg for BBC 5 Live Investigates (to be broadcast 5 October). I said that Stephanie is far from a unique case, there are thousands more like her, many with far worse problems.
I slated the government and pointed out that the high street eye surgery industry is costing the government millions of pounds as the NHS are left to pick up the pieces.
Adrian replied that this was at cost to the tax payers, and I agreed.
The BBC asked the government for their response to my comments and were told the Press Office would get back to them.
I received an email from Dawn O'Neill: "Following correspondence with Ministers, I understand that Dr Dan Poulter suggested that you meet with officials. Following your email to Tim and Noel on 3 July, I responded (on 4th July), offering you a meeting and suggesting some dates. We have not received a response to this email, nor to subsequent emails from Noel (on 7th July) and me (17th July) (copies attached)…
If you want to give me dates/time to avoid, I am happy to put forward some dates for you to consider. Please let me know how you wish to proceed.”
Copies of the emails she alleged were sent to me on 4th, 7th & 17 July were attached. I had never seen them before.
Midday, BBC 5 Live still had no press statement from Dept of Health responding to my comments, and I made a bet that they were waiting for me to email my reply to Dawn.
At 3.17pm I received a phone call from Dawn at exactly the same moment I was sending her this email:
"Thank you for your reply.
I can categorically confirm that I did not receive any of the emails you attached to your email yesterday. It is strange that three emails from two senders did not reach me.
I would therefore appreciate it if you and Noel Griffin would send the originals via your “Forward” facility so all details are displayed, and I can then ask my IP provider to investigate.
Meanwhile, I need to also check John McDonnell’s availability before responding with dates.”
Dawn was very keen to arrange a meeting asap - yet hadn’t bothered to call after my lack of response to the three alleged emails of 4th, 7th & 17 July!
I repeated what I’d just emailed to her - and more!
Said how disgusted I am with the government - who are turning a blind eye [sic] to information they have been given... criticised their claims of being too busy to meet with me, yet Jeremy Hunt had found time to meet with friends of mine last year - twice - to discuss a case of NHS negligence.*
I added that perhaps it had helped that one of the family is a world famous musician.
I also said that I did not accept that the emails were ever sent to me in July.
FYI: Dawn did not ‘Forward’ original emails to me as I’d asked, and I have since checked with my ISP and there is no record of these ever having reached my server!
I believe these emails were faked.
Look carefully at the dates and content of messages, especially the one from Richard Tromans, and make up your own mind!
No surprise that my interview with Adrian Goldberg was edited out of the broadcast today, with a response from the Dept of Health claiming they're looking to "make the industry more transparent"!
Pot, kettle, black methinks!
Stephanie is angry because she only agreed to the 5 Live interview to support My Beautiful Eyes Campaign, but every one of the many references she made to MBE were edited out!
She is also angry at OE's statement that they: "believe Stephanie's symptoms could be fully resolved with further treatment"! (Coincidentally, the very same statement was made by the owner of the company responsible for damaging my eyes, when he not only lied, but also breached Data Protection Act by discussing my details with two patients via email )
*A member of the family died following an eye operation at Moorfields in 2013. Jeremy Hunt promised that he would make sure there were changes so it would never happen again. I was given all the letters and documents with permission to use them as I saw fit to help my campaign.
"According to nhs.uk, risks of laser eye surgery can include problems with dry eyes in the months after treatment while others can experience glare or halo effects when driving at night. But it adds that complications occur in less that five per cent of cases."
When Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt finally stops avoiding me I will be asking that he provide evidence to support the NHS claim of a "less than 5%" complication rate!
Not only is this as credible as Optical Express' "99% success" claim, but also totally irresponsible.
If the NHS was privatised I would have to ask how many shares Hunt owned, because as long as Optical Express et al continue to operate unregulated the costs to the NHS will soar.
It should be considered that the NHS already provides medical support for thousands of patients with problems caused by Optical Express - some so serious they undergo emergency NHS operations to save their sight. And it will get worse.
The health of my own eyes is deteriorating quite rapidly, and I have no idea how bad it will be in another five years!
How much of a financial burden will I be to the NHS in the future as a result of undergoing "life changing" laser eye surgery?
At their meeting on 6 May, both John McDonnell MP and Prof Harminder Dua warned Health Minister Daniel Poulter that if the government didn't intervene soon this critical issue would prove to be far more serious than the cosmetic surgery industry scandal!
For reasons of his own, after months of planning that meeting, Poulter had advised only a few days before that I wasn't able to attend as a "civilian". John then urged him to meet with me as soon as possible. Poulter eventually wrote and told John he was too busy, having condescendingly written to me, praising me for my: "good work"!!
Jeremy Hunt is also too busy to meet with me, as I was told in a letter sent from his office today. That I'm saving for the press!
Presumably "too busy" because if the government acknowledge me, and what I represent, then they will be forced to take action. This of course will upset some influential businessmen with lots of money who they prefer to keep happy - at any cost it would seem!
Jeremy Hunt needs to face me soon, because when this scandal finally explodes he will be unable to claim that he had no knowledge of the enormity of the problems.
I have countless letters and emails which clearly prove that he and others within the government are fully aware of what's going on, yet choose to take no action as thousands more risk having their eyes and lives irreparably ruined.
I have news for the government: the high street eye surgery industry have lost control, no longer able to stem the truth, which is about to haemorrhage.
John McDonnell is still waiting for a reply from his tabled question to Hunt btw!
6 May ’14: John McDonnell MP and Professor Harminder Dua, President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, met with Health Minister Daniel Poulter to discuss the urgent need for regulation of the refractive eye surgery industry.
Dr Poulter advised that, although refractive eye surgery had not been singled out by the Keogh report, the government had decided it would be included in "the work being taken forward" by the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee, set up by the Royal College of Surgeons.
This was just a 'sop' to placate us!
Because, following that meeting, although there has been a considerable exchange of communication - NOTHING has moved forward, and we believe that the government is in fact doing its utmost to ignore the problem, even though we have warned them it is a massive scandal waiting to explode, which will prove to be far more serious than the cosmetic surgery furore!
29 August '14: After discussing the situation with John, I emailed Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, requesting a meeting asap. No reply as yet.
2 Sept '14: John McDonnell tabled questions, asking if the Secretary of State had received an email from Sasha Rodoy of 'My Beautiful Eyes', and did he intend to respond.
He must answer John by tomorrow.
PLEASE email your MP - NOW! If they don't reply within 24hrs, send again and again until they do - personally!