§ Mr. Hutchinson
asked the Minister of Health how many approved societies give additional benefit for ophthalmic treatment to all classes of their members; and whether, in the case of societies which do not give ophthalmic benefit to all classes of their members, he will take steps to ensure that ophthalmic benefit, or some modified scale of ophthalmic benefit should be given to those members not at present entitled to benefit?
§ Sir K. Wood
Ophthalmic benefit is included amongst the additional benefits available to the members of 730 approved societies and 4,700 branches, with a total membership of 11,300,000. Members of these societies only become entitled to the benefit after a waiting period of two and a-half years on average, but after the completion of the waiting period the benefit is available to all classes of members. Legislation would be necessary to make ophthalmic benefit available to all members of all approved societies, and such legislation cannot at present be contemplated.