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Vision Screening (Children)

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Department of Health has made no assessment of the provision of vision screening for children. However, the UK National Screening Committee, which advises Ministers and the NHS on all aspects of screening, has commissioned a national mapping exercise to look at how many primary care trusts offer vision screening.

There is some evidence of variance across the country, with some PCTs not conforming to current arrangements. What thought has been given to how to improve the situation and iron out the variance?

As my hon. Friend will be aware, the National Screening Committee recommends screening for visual impairment for children between the ages of four and five, and encourages all PCTs to follow those recommendations and ensure that children are screened. However, the Government are aware that, as my hon. Friend says, there are variations in the commissioning of vision screening across PCTs, and it welcomes the review that is being undertaken. We await its recommendations as regards those variations, but we hope that under the new arrangements, after the abolition of PCTs, there will be a far more uniform approach to commissioning and screening.