HC Deb 03 August 1925 vol 187 c949

asked the Minister of Health what change of practice, if any, has taken place or is contemplated in regard to the certificates for optical benefit; whether, upon the obtaining of such certificates, panel patients are or will be obliged to consult ophthalmic surgeons instead of qualified opticians; whether he can state the reason for any change made or contemplated; and whether the cost to the patient will be less or greater than hitherto, and if so, to what extent?


The new schemes of ophthalmic benefit contain a requirement, that was not included in former schemes, to the effect that in all cases an applicant for the benefit must obtain a written recommendation from a medical practitioner. There is no general obligation on the patient to consult an ophthalmic surgeon, but it is for the approved society to decide in each individual case, having regard to the doctor's recommendation, whether the member should do so as a condition of receiving the benefit. The change was made with the object of securing the fullest and best possible service for insured persons. Inasmuch as the whole cost of ophthalmic treatment is now to be defrayed by the society, the cost to the patient, which is limited to some portion of the charge for glasses, should be somewhat less than hitherto, but it is impossible to say precisely to what extent.


Has the hon. Gentleman any idea of what the cost will be of going to an ophthalmic surgeon, instead of to an optician?


What will happen in these cases will be that the patient will consult the doctor on the panel.

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