HC Deb 02 June 1949 vol 465 cc2290-1
16. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the announcement of one of his officials at the Conference of the Association of Hospital Welfare Administrators at Scarborough, on 26th May, to the effect that his Department hoped that the introduction of the Hospital Eye Service would result in the disappearance of the small town optician; whether this announcement represents the policy of his Department; and if he will ensure that the co-operation of ophthalmic opticians both in small and large towns is not endangered thereby.

25. Mrs. Leah Manning

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been drawn to the announcement made by his Department's official, Mr. Cruickshank, at Scarborough, to the effect that the small town optician is to disappear and spectacles to be obtained under proper conditions at hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Bevan

The Government's policy is that set out in paragraph 65 of the White Paper summarising the National Health Service Bill, and embodied in Section 41 of the Act. This is that sight testing and the supply of spectacles should, as resources allow, be carried out in hospitals and clinics provided as part of the hospital and specialist service in charge of ophthalmologists, with opticians playing in them their proper professional part. I have already made it clear to the optical profession that the statement in question was unauthorised, and that Government policy is unchanged.

Mr. Janner

In view of the considerable disturbance this has caused to the ophthalmic opticians who are playing a very important part in the scheme at present, would my right hon. Friend publicise this policy and also see that no aspersions of this kind are cast upon people who are actually doing very good work?

Mr. Bevan

That is the object of the Question and the answer.