WDHB announces Ophthalmology Service delays

15 June 2017


Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) announced today that regrettably, WDHB Ophthalmology patients will have their appointments delayed or rescheduled due to staffing shortages in the foreseeable future.


WDHB chief medical officer Frank Rawlinson says the WDHB’s full-time ophthalmologist scheduled to leave later this month is unable to work due to an injury which leaves the service with no medical staff.


Dr Rawlinson says like many other DHBs nationwide, Whanganui is having difficulty recruiting ophthalmologists “despite our having put a great deal of effort into recruiting two full-time, permanent roles”.


He says a number of factors are putting pressure on ophthalmology services - the key ones being:

  • a worldwide shortage of  general ophthalmologists due to the service becoming highly sub-specialised
  • the ageing population which is increasing demand for ophthalmology services
  • development of new treatments for chronic eye conditions such as Glaucoma.


The WDHB’s Patient Scheduling team will be contacting all patients with ophthalmology appointments to keep them informed of the situation.