§ 17. Mr. Barnett
asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider making the cost of the provision of toughened glass lenses for young children chargeable to the National Health Service.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernard Braine)
It is so chargeable when the lenses are clinically necessary.
§ Mr. Barnett
Are not the lenses always clinically necessary for young children, since safety is involved and there is a far greater likelihood of young children falling down and, therefore, a great possibility that young children will be partially blinded?
§ Mr. Braine
This has not been the experience under the National Health Service. The risk of injury from broken glasses is very slight indeed. In cases where the child might be particularly prone to fall, for instance, a spastic child or one with similar trouble, or a child 947 with only one eye, it would be open to the specialist to recommend such lenses. Then, of course, there would be no difficulty.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
Apart from the very important reasons put forward by my hon. Friend, might it not be an economy to the National Health Service if toughened glass lenses were provided as the normal thing for children?
§ Mr. Braine
That is another question, but since the hon. Gentleman has asked it, I should point oat that unsplinterable lenses are about three times the price of ordinary lenses.