HL Deb 05 June 1990 vol 519 cc1363-4WA
Lord Northfield

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether their attention has been drawn to a statement by the Registrar of the General Optical Council that, "it is quite ingenious the number of ruses and devices thought appropriate by some practitioners in order to dissuade or prevent the patient from having his legal right to receive a copy of his prescription"; and in view of this confirmation from the GOS that the law is being broken, what investigations they are making and what disciplinary action they intend to take if offences are proved.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hooper)

Section 26 of the Opticians Act 1989 requires all registered ophthalmic opticians and registered medical practitioners following the testing of a patient's sight to give that patient either a written prescription for an optical appliance or a written statement that such an appliance is not required. It is the responsibility of the General Optical Council, in the case of ophthalmic opticians, and the General Medical Council, in the case of ophthalmic medical practitioners, to enforce this requirement and to take whatever disciplinary action they consider appropriate in circumstances where it is infringed.

Lord Northfield

asked Her Majesty's Government: On what grounds the ophthalmic service committee of the Manchester Family Practitioner Committee on 20th April 1988 found that the withholding of prescriptions by opticians was not a breach of their terms of service; and whether such withholding would normally be regarded as a breach.

Baroness Hooper

After making appropriate enquiries of the patients concerned, the ophthalmic service committee found no evidence that there had been a withholding of prescriptions by the opticians in these cases, and thus that they were not in breach of their terms of service. Withholding of a prescription would normally be regarded as a breach of an optician's terms of service.