HC Deb 08 February 1960 vol 617 cc25-6
44. Commander Pursey

asked the Minister of Health if he will consider producing a pamphlet for opticians to give to patients, on their first visit, stating what is available to them under the National Health Service as regards examination of eyes and provision of lenses and frames, in order to ensure that patients obtain the full public service to which they are entitled.

Miss Pitt

Full information is already given on the back of the recommendation required for first use of the service, on a leaflet accompanying every approved prescription and on notices provided for display by opticians. My right hon. and learned Friend does not consider an additional pamphlet is necessary.

Commander Pursey

Is the hon. Lady aware that I have spent two months making inquiries in opticians' shops in south-west London, Surrey, Middlesex and Hull and I have found that not one optician is displaying the Ministry of Health notice giving details of the National Health Service scheme and showing the wide range of frames available? Further, does she not realise that 250,000 poor people are still using Woolworth's magnifying spectacles, price 6s. 9d., because there is no one document to inform them that they can obtain proper spectacles for £1 10s. 3d?

Miss Pitt

I am aware that the hon. Gentleman spends a great deal of time on this matter from the number of Questions he has put down on the subject. Opticians are not required to display the notice. The information I have is that most are believed to do so. I will, however, examine the situation in the particular areas which he has mentioned.

Mr. Jeger

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that, while the instructions and advice are contained on the form, they are printed in such small type that until the applicant has received his or her new glasses they cannot be read?

Miss Pitt

There is nothing watertight about the form of words used at the moment. If the hon. Gentleman has any suggestions to make about an improvement of the wording on the form, I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend will be very willing to look at them.

Dr. Summerskill

As many reputable opticians display this notice, would the Parliamentary Secretary ask her right hon. and learned Friend whether he would consider making it compulsory?

Miss Pitt

It has not been compulsory since the start of the National Health Service, although I agree with the right hon. Lady that, to the best of our information, most opticians display it. I will certainly put the point to my right hon. and learned Friend.

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