§ Mr. Will Griffiths
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that a spokesman for his Department has said that family doctors are advised that children having their eyes examined for the first time should be referred to a doctor with ophthalmic training; if he is aware that under the National Health Service Acts a patient using the Supplementary Ophthalmic Service may choose to consult either an ophthalmic optician, or an ophthalmic medical practitioner; and if he will instruct his officers not to make such statements.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
It is true that in response to a telephone inquiry a newspaper was given oral information on the lines of the statement quoted. This was due to a misunderstanding within the Department. In fact, no such advice has been given by the Department to family doctors. While I am advised that there may be medical reasons for referring a child to an ophthalmologist at the time of a first sight test, and a family doctor making an initial examination is free to do this, it is entirely open to the parent if a sight test only is sought to take the child to an ophthalmic optician within the Supplementary Ophthalmic Service after the initial examination by the family doctor.