Although the interview I gave to BBC Points West on Friday lasted approx 15 minutes, I was conscious that only a brief clip would be used, so I ensured every point made was hard-hitting!
I slated the government, naming three health ministers who've put off meeting with me since 2013 - Philip Dunne the most recent (see below), dismissed the CQC as useless, praised the GOC for their action against John Margetts, unlike the GMC who refuse to impose sanctions against refractive surgeons repeatedly damaging patients, explained that OE now provide only 12 months aftercare, so costing the NHS untold £millions to clean up their mess (OE recently suggested the NHS should pay £50 for a damaged patient’s records), and vehemently criticised the Royal College of Ophthalmologists for their revised refractive surgery standards that read like an advertorial for refractive surgery - written primarily by refractive surgeons!
I explained Dr David Teenan’s part in these, and that, even though the College trustees were given legal evidence that OE’s Medical Director is being sued by many damaged patients, they considered it appropriate to include him in writing new standards, that Optical Express now refuse to accept, while excluding me at the behest of a corrupt businessman to keep them happy!
I explained the fact that David Moulsdale has (allegedly) funded another organisation to write conflicting standards to suit OE's own modus operandi, with David Teenan leading that panel, alongside Dr Jan Venter and Tweedledum (seriously), and the College STILL say he can stay!! (More on this to come.)
Amazing how much I can say in such a short space of time!
Overall I was very happy with the interview, but not satisfied with my answer to the final question about regulation, unsuccessfully trying to condense enough words to fill a page into just twenty seconds with no time to amend!!
Unfortunately of course this was the clip they used - perhaps because it was the least contentious as they had no time to run my other claims past lawyers!
However, thanks to the BBC, the dry spell is over, with more tick tocks on the horizon…
And I will publish a summary of the GOC Fitness to Practise hearing as soon as I can!
PS: A shout out to David Magee, one of OE’s in-house lawyers, whose company I enjoyed during the first two days. On the third day however, David avoided me like the plague, no doubt warned by Moulsdale to do so.
I don’t expect young David Magee to stay with OE much longer, because on the second day (before he stopped hanging out with me) he told me, prior to the hearing, he'd had no idea of OE's sales tactics.
When I mentioned that I didn’t recall OE having even one in-house lawyer when I started OERML, whereas now they have quite an extensive legal team, he sweetly flattered me (albeit unintentionally) and said it was because of me!
I suspect he might be looking for another job tomorrow
No originality - other than mention of election - simply copy/paste provided by DoH officials, same bullsh*t in all similar letters from health ministers to MPs!
And the reference to 'refractive laser eye surgery' ignores the increasing problems with lens exchange procedures, cataract surgery scandalously sold as a barbaric option to simply wearing reading glasses, resulting in so many undergoing explant surgery at enormous cost to the NHS!
Bobby Qureshi owns Harley Street 'London Eye Hospital’ clinic, and, just like Harley Street surgeon Dan Reinstein (London Vision Clinic responsible for damaging Anneka Rice's vision), Bobby also has a PR company who arrange numerous TV promos like this - not clear why his sidekick has a stethoscope around her neck though!
And today Bobby got his just des(s)erts served by Jo Macfarlane in The Mail on Sunday. A huge kick in the teeth for Bobby given the amount of money he has spent on expensive advertorials in the Mail!
Quote from the Mail article, 'NHS eye experts are in fact having to deal with the fallout.’ This is of course what I’ve been telling the government for years, who continue to turn a blind eye!
The double page article in the Mail is also available online, and the following excerpts equally reflect experiences with Optical Express and other clinics.
• If this was happening on the NHS, there would be outcry.
• I'm furious. It was like being mugged. The anger and frustration has had a massive effect on my health.
• Mr Qureshi behaved 'like a double-glazing salesman', according to Mr Marrett, who was promised a 'special introductory rate' for the EyeMax Mono lens if he signed up for surgery on the same day.
• Patients claiming they were not adequately warned of the risks that it might not work, or that they could need glasses after the operation;
• Several claim they felt pressured into making the decision to go ahead immediately, and were met by a man with a credit-card machine outside the consulting room door.
• One patient, who did not want to be named, said: 'It was all too rushed. We should have come home and thought about it. People have been used as guinea pigs. He [Qureshi] must have made millions.'
• We asked LEH for the data which supports what it claims about its success rate, but the clinic declined to provide it.
• An inspection report by the Care Quality Commission, published last week, revealed a hospital study that found only 54 per cent of patients would recommend it to family and friends. The hospital acknowledged it had to be better at highlighting possible risks, and be 'realistic' about results.
And this is of course common practice within the industry, something I can personally attest to!
• Former Mayor of Westminster, Harvey Marshall, 76, said the hospital offered him £8,000 compensation 'provided you don't speak to people'. He initially rejected this but when the MoS tried to contact Mr Marshall by email, his wife Hazel replied: 'He is not able to talk to you owing to a confidentiality agreement.’
PS: I so love the Mail's headliners - remember the one in January 2015 that kicked off Optical Express' 21.5 million claim, 'Blindness fears over eye surgery at High St clinic'. More to come on their settlement in due course.
In January 2015 Optical Express issued legal proceedings against the Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers Ltd) for defamation and malicious falsehood, alleged to have arisen out of an article published online and in the Daily Mail*.
Since then I have repeatedly stated that OE would never let this go to trial!
Sadly I was right, because last Tuesday evening (21 February) OE settled their (approx) £21.5 million claim against Associated Newspapers Ltd - but in my opinion Optical Express blinked first!
In 2014 Optical Express (DCM Holdings Ltd) suffered huge financial losses following a highly publicised trial when Stephanie Holloway was awarded £569,000 (plus 7 yrs interest), her claim won on lack of informed consent alone!
So win or lose, with £21.5 million at stake, the Daily Mail trial would have destroyed OE, with guaranteed and sensational media/press cover!
I will publish more info when I can, but until then I can tell you that it’s not over yet!
Btw, I also predicted that OE would go into administration before the Daily Mail trial...
But this is my dream - that I need your help to make come true
Tell them about the problems you’ve suffered, the withdrawal of lifetime aftercare/free eye tests, or if you were lucky enough not to have surgery, OE’s refusal to refund your deposit...
No matter what your complaint, it all helps build a picture for the producers to understand what's going on here!
Panorama should ask the government why they ignore us, why THREE health ministers have avoided meeting with me since 2013...
And why the GMC and Royal College of Ophthalmologists do nothing - in full knowledge that many thousands of patients continue to have their eyes and lives ruined by this unregulated and corrupt industry - while they stand arm in arm with unrepentant surgeons responsible for causing so much harm to so many of their trusting patients!
A warning that should be heeded by anyone in Holland considering laser eye surgery - and by anyone watching elsewhere, because the problems with all refractive eye surgery procedures are the same in any country where they are performed!
Plenty of reference to Optical Express (no longer trading in Holland) - but disappointingly no acknowledgement of OERML or the UK campaign for government regulation of this scandalous industry!
Other than that, my only criticism concerns the statement from the commentator @ 12.51 mins, claiming that, “eye lasering is purely cosmetic”.
For the last few years I have fought vehemently against anyone describing refractive eye surgery as cosmetic.
IT IS NOT! It is serious and invasive surgery that can leave a person blind at worst
And while many people do have this surgery for ‘cosmetic reasons’ (because they don’t like wearing glasses), the surgery itself is certainly NOT a ‘cosmetic’ procedure.
And for thousands of damaged patients I have personally spoken to over the years (me included) the purpose was definitely not ‘cosmetic', but for convenience and practical reasons.
You cannot possibly compare laser eye surgery with a breast implant or facelift - wonky boobs or an overly stretched smile do not come close to damaged vision, and I defy anyone to find me a refractive surgeon who would take kindly to being described as a ’cosmetic surgeon’!
Listen out for references to Optical Express and Steven Schallhorn
Morris Waxler was the FDA official responsible for approving laser devices in the US, but subsequently announced that this was based on flawed and misleading information.
'The FDA looked at how well patients could read the eye chart in the short-term but dismissed troubling surgical effects such as persistent night vision problems and chronic dry eyes.'
Interviewed for Zembla, Morris says that the FDA was assured that post op problems were temporary and would go away.
Exactly what I was told almost 6 years ago - lies, lies, lies!!