HC Deb 09 November 1977 vol 938 cc114-5W
Mr. Lomas

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the rising price of spectacles and dentures available under the National Health Service ; and how these prices compare with the private sector.

Mr. Moyle:

Charges for spectacle lenses supplied under the NHS were increased on 1st April 1977 to £2.90 for each single vision lens and £5.50 or £6.15 per lens for bifocal lenses, depending on type. Charges for NHS frames range from £1.35 for the most popular type to £5.92. Overall, NHS optical charges still by no means cover the full cost of the NHS ophthalmic service. While we have no detailed knowledge of private optical charges, which h are for settlement between the optician and patient, we believe that in general they are substantially higher than NHS charges.

Charges for synthetic resin dentures were increased to a maximum of £20 for more than one denture on 1st April 1977. Specific charges for porcelain and metal dentures, with a maximum of £30, were introduced at the same time. The charges are in all cases less than the cost to the NHS, and in general very much less than fees charged privately, which are entirely a matter between dentist and patient.