HC Deb 09 November 1950 vol 480 cc1107-8
28. Sir Harold Roper

asked the Minister of Health why Mrs. Burchall of Crantock, Cornwall, who was tested for new spectacles in May, 1949, received them only on 17th October, 1950, and then only after the hon. Member for North Cornwall had complained to his Department about the delay.

Mr. Bevan

This lady needed bi-focal glasses, which have frequently taken many months to supply; but the arrears of orders are being overtaken and the waiting time which is already less should diminish substantially in the next few months.

35. Mr. Carr

asked the Minister of Health why ophthalmic opticians are debarred from prescribing prism-controlled bifocal lenses.

Mr. Bevan

These and certain other special types of lens are supplied through the hospital service only.

Mr. Carr

Could the right hon. Gentleman give me the reason?

Mr. Bevan

The reason is because we consider that people with this very high degree of loss of sight ought immediately to be under the influence of hospital authorities, where the specialists are.

36. Mr. Carr

asked the Minister of Health how many prism-controlled bifocals have been prescribed by the hospital eye service since the commencement of the Health Service.

Mr. Bevan

I regret that this information is not available.

37. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that glasses delayed in delivery for several months are often found to be useless owing to eye deterioration; and if he will renew his efforts to speed the delivery of glasses.

Mr. Bevan

There is now very little delay except for certain complicated lenses such as bifocals and steps have been taken to increase production of these types.

Sir W. Smithers

This is very important. Can I give the right hon. Gentleman a typical case? Is he aware that a matron of a home waited eight months for glasses and when they came they were so unsuitable that her eyes became bloodshot? The glasses were no use at all.

Mr. Bevan

If, as a consequence of not being able to get bifocal glasses there is a deterioration, then obviously bifocals ought not to have been recommended, but two pairs of glasses.