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Dental And Eye Charges

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much revenue he expects to be raised from dental and eye charges in 1990–91; and how much revenue has been raised since the inception of charges at current prices.

The 1990–91 estimates laid before Parliament show income from patient charges for general dental services in England as £388 million. There are no patient charges in the general ophthalmic service. Certain priority groups, including children and those on low incomes, are eligible for free National Health Service sight tests and vouchers towards the cost of glasses where these are necessary. People not included in these priority groups pay private fees to opticians for ophthalmic services.National Health Service dental and ophthalmic charges were introduced in 1951. Charges for the supply of National Health Service glasses through the general ophthalmic service stopped from 1 July 1986, when vouchers were introduced. The estimated total revenue collected in England since the inception of these patient charges is set out in the following table:

Revenue collected adjusted to 1990–91 prices using the GDP deflator
Cash total
£ million£ million
Charge income from the General Dental Service 1951–52 to 1989–902,5905,710
Charge income from the General Ophthalmic Service 1951–52 to 1986–874902,080

These totals are based on estimates of the England-only income in the period 1951–52 to 1968–69; accounts for these years combined figures for England and Wales. They are gross of any refunds to patients who were incorrectly or inadvertently deemed liable to pay charges.