Bedford surgery specialists save hockey veteran's sight

Treatment was fast-tracked after delays due to the pandemic

A former hockey player has shared how a Bedford eye specialist fast-tracked his cataract surgery, after his NHS treatment was delayed due to the pandemic.

John Efford, 73, visited his nearby opticians for a routine eye test when the unexpected diagnosis was given.

He was referred for NHS cataract surgery at Huntingdon Hospital, but the appointment was postponed due to Covid-19.

John Efford

With cataracts on his left eye impacting his vision, and a backlog of appointments, John turned to SpaMedica in Bedford Heights.

Living in Cambridgeshire, John took advantage of SpaMedica’s free transport service for NHS patients.

He said: “There were two or three others being picked up as well and we all got on really well, swapping stories about where we were from and what was wrong with us. It was reassuring to have others there with me on the way to the hospital.”

Describing his treatment, John - a former hockey player for county and country - said: “The surgery itself was nothing like I thought it would be - you picture the worst. It was virtually pain-free and it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Everyone made me feel at home - it’s a wonderful place.”

SpaMedica is a provider of NHS cataract surgery - and has reduced waiting times, with appointments available within four weeks.

Amanda Jones, regional manager at SpaMedica for the South-East, said: “It’s fantastic to hear of John’s positive experience at our Bedford hospital, and that we could offer treatment within five weeks. We know there are waiting times in some regions of over a year from referral to surgery for cataracts, and we’re proud to support the NHS to reduce this backlog.”