HC Deb 09 March 1944 vol 397 cc2179-80
32. Mr. Salt

asked the President of the Board of Education if he is aware that many school children in Birmingham have recently had to wait three months or more for eye examination under the School Medical Service; and what action he proposes to take to remedy this matter.

The President of the Board of Education (Mr. Butler)

The school medical staff in Birmingham, as in other areas, has suffered some reduction owing to the demands of the Services for medical personnel and this has led to some delays in the ophthalmic examination of school children. The authority are this week engaging the part-time services of one or more additional ophthalmologists and hope to overtake the arrears in the near future.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is it not the case that in a perfectly run service you have to wait a long time to get things done?

Mr. Lipson

Will doctors in the school medical service still be called up for military service?

Mr. Butler

Perhaps my hon. Friend will be good enough to put that question down.

33. Mr. R. Morģan

asked the President of the Board of Education whether, in connection with the School Optical Service, he is aware that visual tests alone are inadequate since, although normal vision may exist, the eyes of the child may possess errors of refraction of high degrees which, if not corrected by spectacles, may lead to strain, squint or other eye troubles; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy the matter.

Mr. Butler

I am well aware that visual tests of school children are in themselves inadequate to detect all those who have errors of refraction. In the annual reports of the Board's Chief Medical Officer on the health of the school child attention has from time to time been drawn to the importance of authorities arranging for nurses and teachers to refer to the school medical officers all children displaying symptoms suggestive of defective vision.

Mr. Morģan

Is it the intention in the new order of things to arrange for qualified opticians to visit schools in the same way that qualified dentists examine the teeth of the children in these schools?

Mr. Butler

It is our desire to make things better and to do it as soon as we possibly can.

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