Patients enduring long waits for cataract surgeries are encouraged to board Mayo’s first “blind bus”, which is due to set off for Belfast next month.
Inspired by Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae, Aontú local candidate Paul Lawless is arranging coach hire and accommodation for Mayo residents who want to shortcut delays and have the surgery done in Northern Ireland.
The Cross Border Directive allows Irish citizens to access healthcare in the EU. Participants must pay upfront but will be reimbursed by the HSE. The government has agreed an arrangement for this to continue post-Brexit.
While canvassing the doorsteps last spring, Mr Lawless heard many “heart wrenching” accounts from people awaiting the procedure.
“The reality is that many people across Mayo are waiting years for a 15-minute cataract surgery while their sight deteriorates,” said Mr Lawless.
Extended delays to cataract procedures can lead to blindness.
A survey by the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) found that the average wait for cataract surgery across the country is 28 months. Sligo-Leitrim had the shortest wait times, averaging at 15 months.
Anyone suffering from the eye condition who wishes to board the bus should contact Mr Lawless at 086-0865117.