Health and Community Services
January 30, 2019

Department of Health and Community Services Broadening Access to Cataract Surgery

The Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, is pleased to announce an enhancement to the province’s health care system that will allow all ophthalmologists to perform cataract surgeries using hospital operating rooms and their own approved clinics.

This enhancement will improve access and reduce wait times. There will be no out-of-pocket cost to patients whether they choose a hospital or an approved clinic for their surgery.

The department will now consult with the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association about the appropriate physician compensation model for performing these surgeries. The department will immediately begin work on patient safety and appropriateness of care criteria for ophthalmologists who want to provide these services.

This initiative also delivers on commitments in The Way Forward to provide better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at

“Improving access to services in our health care system benefits everyone. I want to thank the NLMA for their input. I also want to thank the ophthalmology community and Dr. Justin French, whose proposal started a conversation that led to today’s announcement.”
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services

“The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association congratulates the government on moving in this direction. As part of our Memorandum of Agreement, the NLMA and the government agreed to look at ways to improve health system sustainability, including transitioning hospital-based procedures to the community. This approach to cataract surgeries is similar to other provinces in Canada. The decision today is an important step, but much hard work remains to put in place the compensation model and other aspects of service delivery. We look forward to getting started on these tasks immediately and to achieve improved access and reduced wait time for patients.”
Dr. Tracey Bridger
President, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association

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Media contacts
Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-1982

Jonathan Carpenter
Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association
709-726-7424 ext. 303 

2019 01 30                              2:10 p.m.