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Cancer: Health Services

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will provide patients receiving treatment for cancers with (a) dental and (b) eye care fee exemptions; and if he will make a statement. (289563)

We have no current plans to extend the exemption arrangements for national health service dental charges or the eligibility criteria for free NHS sight tests.

Patients do not have to pay for NHS dental treatment if they receive treatment from a hospital dentist as an in-patient or attend as a hospital dental service outpatient, although they may have to pay for any dentures or bridges supplied. Children, pregnant and nursing mothers, adults on certain income-related benefits, and adults who qualify for full assistance under the NHS low income scheme may also receive free treatment if attending an NHS primary care dentist.

No NHS charges apply to patients attending a hospital eye department for the investigation or management of an eye condition. In addition, free NHS sight tests are available from primary care optometrists to a wide range of patients. These include children, people aged 60 and over, people with glaucoma or diabetes or who are at risk of glaucoma, people registered as sight-impaired or blind or who need complex lenses, and adults on certain income-related benefits or who qualify for full assistance under the NHS low income scheme. Private sight tests are widely available for other adults not eligible for an NHS sight test.