HC Deb 22 February 1978 vol 944 cc721-2W
Mr. Patrick Jenkin

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of people who are prescribed lenses for spectacles opt for (a) National Health Service lenses (b) National Health Service frames and (c) National Health Service lenses and frames.

Mr. Ennals

The following information is available. Some 6.5 million people—adults and children—in England and Wales were prescribed spectacles following a sight-test in 1976 under the National Health Service general ophthalmic services. On the assumption that about 10 per cent. obtained more than one pair

Malignant neoplasms of buccal cavity and pharynx 140–149 1,634
Malignant neoplasms of digestive organs and peritoneum 150–159 40,334
Malignant neoplasms of respiratory system 160–163 34,829
Malignant neoplasms of bone, connective tissue, skin and breast 170–174 13,882
Malignant neoplasms of genito-urinary organs 180–189 19,045
Malignant neoplasms of other and unspecified sites 190–199 8,360
Neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues 200–209 7,416
140–209 125,500

More detailed figures up to the March quarter 1977 have been published by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys in the quarterly Monitor Series DH2. Even finer analyses, the latest being for 1975 in Table 2 of Mortality Statistics—Cause, Series DH2, No. 2, are published annually by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Both series are available in the House of Commons Library.

Mortality statistics for Scotland relating to cancer are, I understand, contained in the 1976 Annual Report of the Registrar General for Scotland, a copy of which is also available in the Library.

Similar information for Northern Ireland is contained in the 1976 Annual Report of the Registrar General for Northern Ireland due to be published shortly.

of spectacles following the sight-test we estimate that approximately (1)

24 per cent. were NHS lenses in new NHS frames.

31 per cent. were NHS lenses in new private frames.

18 per cent. were NHS lenses in existing NHS or private frames (2).

The remaining prescriptions were presumably dispensed privately. The proportion of spectacles consisting of NHS lenses in new private frames has declined somewhat since 1976.


(1) The percentages quoted refer to glasses supplied, not to people, because some people are supplied with more than one pair of glasses after a sight test.

(2) The proportion of these frames originally supplied under the NHS is not known.

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