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Eye Tests

Volume 171: debated on Tuesday 1 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his Department's latest estimate of the reduction in the number of eye tests since the introduction of charges.

40.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his Department's latest estimate of the reduction in the number of eye tests since the introduction of charges.

114.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his Department's latest estimate of the reduction in the number of eye tests since the introduction of charges.

I refer the hon. Members to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) on 20 April at column 1048.

109.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to base the proposed survey of the number of people having sight tests over the last 12 months on records kept by ophthalmic opticians and ophthalmic medical practitioners rather than on the recollections of patients.

The survey recently commissioned by the Government is of the number of sight tests during the first quarter of 1990. It is being carried out by a market research company and is based on information obtained from patients, in order to ensure that the results are clearly independent.

121.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any proposals to assist housebound people in need of eye tests.

I am pleased to announce that regulations are to be laid before Parliament shortly, introducing a free domiciliary visiting service for housebound patients requiring an NHS sight test. The scheme will be available for those patients who are entitled to an NHS sight test but because of illness or disability are unable to travel to an optician. In future, such patients will be eligible to receive an NHS sight test in their own home. The service will benefit many housebound people, particularly the elderly for whom good eye care is so important. Opticians will receive a fee from the family practitioner committee for providing this service. It will be in addition to the NHS sight test fee. The service will come into force in June 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans to introduce free eye tests for all.

There are no plans to introduce universal entitlement to a free NHS sight test. It is right that those who can afford to do so should pay for their optical care. Provision exists for the more vulnerable in the community who continue to receive free NHS sight tests.Plans have been announced to lay regulations for a free domiciliary visiting scheme for housebound patients requiring an NHS sight test.