New Zealand hospital struggles to treat eye patients with ophthalmologist shortage

March 3, 2008

A nationwide shortage of ophthalmologists in New Zealand could put more than $1 million of the hospital's funding in jeopardy, if targets are not met by the end of June.

Dunedin, New Zealand-A nationwide shortage of ophthalmologists in New Zealand could put more than $1 million of the hospital's funding in jeopardy, if targets are not met by the end of June.

Currently the hospital has 69 cataract patients on its waiting list and half the normal amount of eye specialists available.

Two ophthalmologists due to arrive mid-year will miss an agreed Ministry of Health target in June, resulting in a funding shortfall of $1.3 million for the hospital.

"There is a shortage of ophthalmologists coming through the system. There are less people being trained, so therefore you've got less qualified people taking up these professions," said Jim Stewart, national chairman of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.