HC Deb 02 July 1925 vol 185 cc2787-8

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, as a result of the new model scheme for the provision of ophthalmic benefit by approved societies, which stipulates that an applicant for the benefit must, at a cost of Is., have obtained and furnished his society with a written recommendation from a panel doctor, the charge for the necessary ophthalmic examination of the applicant has increased from 5s., which was the fee paid to qualified opticians, to £l Is., which is the fee charged by ophthalmic surgeons; and whether, in view of the satisfactory nature of the service heretofore rendered by qualified opticians, he will suspend the order until the Royal Commission on the disposal of the surplus funds of the various approved societies can investigate and report on the matter?


I am aware that the cost of ophthalmic benefit under the new scheme may, in certain cases, show an increase as stated by the hon. Member over the cost of optical benefit under the existing schemes, but there will be no charge for the insurance doctor's recommendation, and the new arrangements have been generally accepted by approved societies. It is impracticable to adopt the suggestion in the latter part of the question, inasmuch as the new schemes for societies and branches valued as at the 31st December, 1922, are due to commence on Monday next.