HC Deb 24 February 1949 vol 461 cc2006-7
31. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Health whether he will make arrangements whereby applications for spectacles under the National Health Service can be graded according to medical priority, so that the most urgent cases can be dealt with first.

24. Mr. Randall

asked the Minister of Health if he will now state what steps are being taken to reduce delays in supplying glasses for special and urgent cases.

Mr. Bevan

Production of spectacles has increased by 52 per cent. since July, 1948, and it is hoped that this can be improved by the end of 1949. Opticians have been asked to give priority to specially urgent cases.

Mrs. Castle

Does my right hon. Friend's reply mean that where a case is regarded as medically urgent it will no longer be necessary for it to take its place in a queue with much less urgent cases?

Mr. Bevan

I am hoping to prevail upon the opticians to give priority to cases of urgency. I do not want to work out any elaborate scheme because I believe that the opticians can be relied upon to do that for themselves voluntarily. If there is any evidence to the contrary, I would like to hear about it.

32. Mr. M. Philips Price

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that persons requiring alteration or readjustments of their spectacles under the National Health Scheme are being informed that only new spectacles will be provided; and if he will consider effecting a reduction in costs if this practice is dropped and existing glasses are, wherever possible, readjusted.

Mr. Bevan

I am not aware of this practice and I would be glad if my hon. Friend would supply me with particulars. The same dispensing fee is paid where an existing frame is used so that there is no financial advantage to an optician to suggest a new frame if it is not needed.

35. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Health how many old age pensioners have been granted spectacles since the inception of the National Health Scheme.

Mr. Bevan

I regret that the information is not available.

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