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Ophthalmology: Training

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the merits of funding continuing education training for dispensing opticians. (127301)

[holding answer 15 March 2007]: The national health service provides a contribution to the cost of continuing education and training for professions whose income derives in part from providing NHS services. Under deregulatory changes approved by Parliament in 1986, the NHS provides optical vouchers to certain eligible groups to assist in buying glasses or contact lenses, but the dispensing of glasses is carried out on a private basis. The Department considers that these arrangements work well in promoting choice and access to services and that it would be anomalous to use public funds to make continuing education and training payments to health care professionals who do not provide services under contract to the NHS.